Cultural competencies are among the areas covered in the new Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.
5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction
Autonomous Province of Vojvodina
Jurisdiction is solely the responsibility of the Parliament of Serbia. The Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, which clearly defines the division of jurisdiction between the Government of Serbia and the autonomous province, was declared on 14th December 2009 (previously approved in the Parliament of Serbia on 30 November 2009), with a lot of political controversies surrounding it. It was announced as a step forward towards EU integration, as an example of decentralisation and regionalisation of Serbia, while the opposition (and even voices from some of the ruling parties) had the opinion that this was a transfer of too much jurisdiction, that could in the future lead to the independence of Vojvodina.
Article 2 defines the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina concerning the development of the national, cultural and other attributes of this region.
Article 4 defines the equality of all citizens living in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, concerning the rights and obligations, regardless of race, gender, birth place, language, nationality, religion, political or any other belief, education, social origin, economic status or other personal characteristic.
Article 6 defines the official use of the Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian and Russian language and their alphabets in the work of the authorities of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, parallel to the Serbo-Croatian language and the Cyrillic and Latin alphabet, already defined by the Constitution
Article 10 defines the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, including decisions and acts organising culture, education, official use of languages and alphabets of the national minorities, and public information on the languages of the national minorities.
Article 12 defines the jurisdiction concerning the development programmes in the areas of education and culture and provides the conditions for their implementation; defines the role of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in the protection, use, improvement and management of the cultural heritage; and through its authorities and organisations secures the conditions for the development of that field.
Article 13 guarantees the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina to secure the conditions for the education of members of the national minorities in their own languages, according to law.
Article 18 gives the right to the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina to establish and finance its cultural, educational and scientific institutions.
Since 2012 there are constant disputes between the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the Government of the Republic of Serbia about the transfer of the segment of the budget designed for Vojvodina, which is regulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. These tensions became more visible after the elections on all levels in the Republic of Serbia in 2012.
Kosovo – legal and operational controversies
The Republic of Serbia finances and supports the public cultural institutions founded by the Ministry of Culture and located in Kosovo (mostly in the northern part of Kosovo, with the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica being the centre of all the cultural activities of the Serbian community), and the protection and preservation of all the monuments of Serbian cultural heritage (mostly monuments and religious objects), some of them on the UNESCO heritage list (DeÄani Monastery, The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery, GraÄanica Monastery, The Church of Holly Lady of Ljeviš). A number of cultural institutions moved their administrative centres after the Kosovo war (1999) and the violence directed towards the Serbian community (2004), either to Kosovska Mitrovica or to south-central parts of Serbia (most of them in the city of Niš). The Republic of Serbia does not recognise the declaration of independence of the Republic of Kosovo (17 February 2008), while the Albanian administration in Kosovo sees these institutions supported by the Government of Serbia as parallel and illegal. In 2012, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica DaÄić, and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hašim TaÄi, met for the first time in Brussels, in the presence of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which is seen by political analysts on all sides, as the most serious step in years towards the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, with the mediation of the EU. There is hope that all these issues will be resolved in the years to come, with compromises from both sides during the negotiations mediated by the European Union. This could also mean more relaxed cultural cooperation between the institutions on both sides, and not only civil sector organisations in the field of culture and the arts.
National minorities' councils
Every other local municipality is also obliged to satisfy the cultural needs of the citizens on their territory, and national councils of national minorities have the legal framework and the possibility to create and implement the cultural policy of national minorities. Elections for the national councils of national minorities took place on 6 June 2010, and they went very well in all the communities of national minorities, except for the National Bosnian Minority Council in Serbia. Unfortunately there have been serious problems and tensions since the creation of the National Bosnian Minority Council in Serbia, as during elections for the Council many political parties and the Islamic community had supported different groups. The National Bosnian Minority Council in Serbia is still not recognised by the government and by some of the political parties of the Bosnian minority which participated in the elections. There were initiatives for the new elections, but they were not held because a compromise between the two sides could not be reached. The divisions are the most intense in Sandzak and the city of Novi Pazar, the municipality in southern Serbia, where the majority of Bosnians (of Muslim religion) live. This situation is still unresolved, creating tensions between some of the officials of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the leader of one of the two existing Islamic communities in Serbia, Muamer Zukorlić, but also creating strong polarisation inside the Bosniac Muslim community in Serbia (those who are for the religious authority from Sarajevo, and those who want that religious authority is Islamic centre based in Serbia). There is a strong diplomatic initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey to resolve these tensions, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Islamic communities from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, to unite the Islamic community of Serbia, stop the tensions inside the community and between the community and the government, and discontinue the interference between religion and politics. In 2012, Muamer Zukorlić, leader of one of the Islamic communities in Serbia, was a presidential candidate in the presidential elections in Republic of Serbia, drawing 1.1% of all the votes at national level. This was the first time that a religious leader in the Republic of Serbia nominated themselves for the position of the President of the Republic, which Zukorlić explained as a test of tolerance for Serbia (see also: http://www.b92.net/info/izbori2012/vesti.php?yyyy=2012&mm=04&dd=14&nav_id=600660).