MINELRES: Fwd: Croatia Hosts Conference on Cross-Border Cooperation Between Ethnic Minorities

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Mon Jul 7 18:00:41 2008

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Croatia Hosts Conference on Cross-Border Cooperation Between Ethnic


BBC Monitoring European

Text of report in English by Croatian state news agency HINA 

BRIJUNI, June 19 (Hina) - Cross-border cooperation between ethnic
minorities was the subject of a three-day international conference that
opened on the northern Croatian Adriatic island of Brijuni on Thursday. 

The conference, organized by the Croatian Government Office for National
Minorities and the Council for National Minorities, was being attended
by representatives of ethnic minorities from Austria, Bosnia and
Hercegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo,
Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. 

The purpose of the meeting is to bring together representatives of
governments and ethnic minorities in the region and other European
countries to step up cross-border cooperation between minorities,
because it is important for the exercise of their rights, the head of
the Government Office for National Minorities, Milena Klajner, said in
her opening remarks. 

Klajner said that efforts were being made to improve cooperation between
ethnic communities in the areas of culture, education and the media,
citing examples of the Croatian minority in Hungary and Romania and the
Hungarian and Romanian minorities in Croatia. 

The Chairman of the Croatian Parliament Committee on Human and Minority
Rights, Furio Radin, said that the protection of national minorities in
Croatia was relatively satisfactory, adding that "there can never be
enough of positive discrimination." 

Radin said that ethnic minorities were bridges between countries and a
connecting factor that could improve relations between countries. He
said that the existing borders would become irrelevant once all the
countries joined the European Union. 

The President of the Council for National Minorities, Aleksandar
Tolnauer, said that ethnic minorities could play a decisive role in
promoting cooperation and dialogue among countries, stressing that
Croatian legislation ensured the highest standards in protecting their

Mabera Kamberi of the Council of Europe Committee on Roma and Travellers
said that Croatia had made evident progress in protecting the rights of
national minorities, unlike some EU members whose governments she said
were treating minorities in a discriminatory fashion, as could be seen
in the case of Roma. 

Originally published by HINA news agency, Zagreb, in English 19 Jun 08. 

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring

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