Serbia has good solutions in the field of protection of minority rights

State Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ivan Bošnjak, and the Consul General of Romania to Serbia, Olyver-Marius Dilof, presided over the meeting of the Intergovernmental Mixed Commission for Improving the Status of Minorities in Zaječar today. Bošnjak assessed that Serbia has a good legal framework in the field of protection of minority rights, but also that a lot has to be done in many fields. He said that at the meeting there were words about popularizing minority language learning through the education system, establishing minority news offices in private media at the local level, as well as about supporting persons belonging to national minorities to freely express their religious affiliation. Some issues, as he said, remain open after this meeting, such as the functioning and operation of the Romanian church in the eastern part of Serbia, the issues of education and information in minority languages, as well as the issue of elections for the National Council. The State Secretary assessed that good bilateral relations between Romania and Serbia and the non-recognition of Kosovo and Metohija’s independence will be complemented with good agreements that will help us in the implementation of the National Plan for the Improvement of the Status of Minorities in Serbia. He stressed that two draft laws dealing with the issue of the status of national minorities had been prepared, and that a package of laws , which the MP will also decide about, will be included in the agenda of the session of the Republican Parliament on 29 March. Dilof stressed that in order to develop good cooperation with the Romanian Consulate General, when it comes to respecting minority rights, the economic development of these two regions should be taken into account. The Romanian community in Serbia and the Serb community in Romania should be one point connecting these two countries, he said, adding that a good understanding of the two communities would lead to prosperity in their future bilateral relations. The Head of the Zaječar Administrative District, Vladan Paunović, pointed out that the environment has always been nationally mixed, noting that according to the last census in 2011- 307 citizens in Boljevac and Zaječar declared themselves as Romanians and 6,254 as Vlachs. The participants in the discussion stressed the importance of the analysis of the implementation of bilateral agreements, and that the issue of the status and position of national minorities will be the topic of Serbia’s accession negotiations with the EU.