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Croatia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.4 Cultural diversity and inclusion policies

There are 22 officially organised minorities in Croatia: Albanians, Austrians, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Poles, Roma, Romanians, Russians, Ruthenians, Slovaks, Slovenians, Serbs, Turks, Ukrainians, and Vlachs. According to the 2011 Census, these minorities make up about 8.5% of the population. Apart from Serbs who represent 4.36% of the total population, all other minorities are below 1%. All minorities receive state support through the Government Office for Human Rights and National Minorities. The total population of Croatia is 4.284 million. According to the 2011 census, Croats make up 90.42% of the population and 7.67% are ethnic minorities (the remaining percentage either did not respond to the census, or they responded by quoting regional affiliation, or they did not want to declare themselves). The political and legal framework defining the position of national minorities is derived from the Constitution (1990, rev. 2001, 2010, 2014) and the Constitutional Law on Rights of National Minorities (2002, rev. 2010, 2011). Minorities have elected their representatives in the Parliament through a special electoral unit, and currently there are 8 representatives elected according to the rules of relative majority.

Minority cultural activities are predominantly traditional, e.g., preserving language, nurturing folk traditions, music and art, organising exhibitions, acting and reciting groups. The cultural activities of the Jewish and Italian minorities are wider and their participation in the cultural life of Croatia is more general. The Serb minority cultural activities are visible and observed as specific, while cultural visibility of other minorities is limited.

The Ministry of Culture supports various programmes through the distribution of grants in art and cultural fields. All national minorities have designated reference libraries that are distributed throughout the country: City Library Beli Manastir (Hungarian); Public Library Daruvar (Czech); City Library "Ivan Goran Kovačić" Karlovac (Slovenian); City Library Pula (Italian); Public Library Našice (Slovak); Library "Bogdan Ogrizović" Zagreb (Albanian); Libraries of the City of Zagreb (Rutheninan and Ukranian); City and University Library Osijek (Austrian), the Serbian Cultural Association "Prosvjeta" (Serbian) and Public Library "Vlado Gotovac" Sisak (Bosniak). The Ministry also provides support for the establishment of the Serbian Cultural Association "Prosvjeta" and the Jewish communities in Zagreb.

Several bilateral agreements on cooperation in the field of culture and education include references to the cultural needs of national minorities and the activities of their respective associations and institutions.

In 2011 the Slovakian Cultural Centre was established in Našice (the focal city of the Slovakian minority in Croatia), according to the reciprocity principle as a similar cultural centre of the Croatian minority is already established in Slovakia.

The Ministry of Culture supports programmes proposed by national minorities based on their artistic or cultural excellence. These follow the usual procedure and criteria applied to the selection of all proposals. However, there is a special fund for supporting activities and projects by national minorities, administered by the Government's Council for National Minorities, which includes also cultural projects in the fields of arts and heritage, media, events and festivals as well as various projects promoting education, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue. Special provisions referring to education and cultural activities of the Roma people have been adopted through the National Programme for the Support of Roma and programmes such as the National Strategy for Roma Inclusion 2013-2020 and its first Action Plan for 2013-2015, while the new Action Plan had not been elaborated at the time of writing this report.

Chapter published: 04-05-2017

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