ZAGREB – Bilingual signs and minority languages are in the jurisdiction of European Union member states, but we are confident that Croatia will honor national and international commitments on the protection of national minorities, reads a statement issued by the European Commission on Thursday.
“The Commission remains confident that the Croatian authorities will comply with their national and international commitments, in particular, among others, the application of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities as well as of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by its Member States, which Croatia has ratified,” said EC spokesperson Christian Wigand.
This is how the EU executive body commented for the Croatian news agency Hina on the amendments to the Vukovar city statute that envisage scrapping the bilingual signs on institutions in this city that is a house for a considerable number of Serb citizens.
“Respect for linguistic and cultural diversity is one of the cornerstones of the European Union enshrined in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union. However, national language policies, including bilingual public signs, are not regulated by EU law and remain within the jurisdiction of each Member State,” Wigand said.
He underlined that any discrimination based on ethnic origin is explicitly prohibited in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)-dominated Vukovar City Council adopted on August 17 the amendments to the city statute that envisage that the bilingual signs on the city institutions, streets and squares will not be displayed until further notice.