Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic met with representatives of national minority councils in the Palace of Serbia today, in order to be informed about the activities of the national minority councils and the most important challenges they face in their work.
After the introductory greetings, Minister Ruzic reminded the attendees that the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government worked on the one of the most important documents in the field of protection of national minority rights – the Action Plan for the Execution of Rights of Members of the National Minorities, which has been planned to be enacted in the process of the accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union under the negotiation chapter 23.
“As far as I am informed, apart from the representatives of the state institution, civil society organisations, and representatives of the international organisations, it was you, the representatives of the national minority councils who provided the significant contribution in creating this document“, the Minister dais an d added that he expects the representatives of the national minority councils to continue to participate in the next phases – in the implementation of activities, preparation and control of reports, and thus contribute to the overall enhancement of the position of their community.
The Minister pointed out that the national minority councils also participated in the preparation of the Draft Act amending the Act on Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities, and that they are actively participating on amendments to the Act on National Minority Councils. He added that this is a joint task, since the Ministry wants this legislation to be ratified in a participative and inclusive process and that solutions for certain issues are jointly found in a constant dialogue.
“The important issue, which has been moved from a deadlock in the last two years, is the Budgetary Fund for National Minorities. In the meeting of the Council for national Minority held on 23 May 2017, the Draft program for Allocation of Funds form the Budgetary Fund for National Minorities was unanimously endorsed. The Program identifies the information in the national minority languages as a priority area, and the program and projects from this particular area will be funded from the Budgetary Fund for National Minorities in 2017 “, Minister Ruzic emphasized and added that the Ministry is in the final stage of preparation of the Guidelines that will define the method of establishing composition and number of the Commission, which will carry out the competition in keeping with the Law and the Regulation.
Minister Ruzic noted that, although a significant progress has been made thus far, he is aware that there is still space for further enhancement of the legislative framework and implementations of the regulations, that some problems can be resolve din a shorter time, and that there are open issues that request commitment and mutual understanding and confidence. He concluded that, because of this reason, it is important to make sure that the Government of the Republic of Serbia and representatives of national minority councils act as partners in this process.