Croatia should do more to learn the languages of minorities and promote the languages of minority communities in education, public administration, and the media, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe recommended today.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe assessed that, as far as the Serbian language is concerned, the Cyrillic alphabet is insufficiently present in the municipalities and on the inscriptions.
The Council of Europe made its recommendations on the basis of a report by the Committee of Experts, in accordance with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
The charter lists Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Slovenian, German, Romani, and Istro-Romance as the languages of minority communities in Croatia. All of these languages enjoy varying degrees of protection.
The models by which minority languages should be taught or school subjects taught are A, B, and C.
The report states that the number of weekly hours of learning a minority language or studying in a minority language is “insufficient” and that, for example, according to the C model, which envisages two to five hours a week, this is often reduced to only two hours.
According to this report, the history of minority languages and cultures is covered by the subject Civic Education, but it is not clear what this looks like in practice.
The Council of Europe emphasizes that there is interest in learning German and Italian in additional municipalities and that Istro-Romance is not taught at all, so it is “greatly endangered”. It is recommended that this language be introduced into the education system as a matter of urgency.
Although some minority languages, such as Italian, are present in the public sphere, other minority languages should be “linguistically more visible” and more present in the public sphere, the report added.
The recommendations call for the introduction of minority languages into “equal and official use” in several municipalities with a sufficient number of speakers of a particular minority language.
These languages, it is added, should be used in the work of regional and local authorities, as well as local branches of state authorities.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe calls on the Croatian authorities to submit a report on the recommendations for their implementation by March 1, 2023.