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Minority and language politics in post‐communist democracies

According to Muś, Jan (2013): "Ethnic mosaic of the Western Balkan countries have special methodological value for various reasons. First of all, ethnic minorities, with some minor exceptions, have indigenous character, and have settled in the region at least several centuries ago. Actually, there is a constant debate on the question of “who was there first”, ... .

The other important factor, which makes comparison of the Balkan countries especially valuable is fact of the international pressure mostly from the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to respect minority rights. Divided group is easier to control. Leaders of various subgroups who compete with each other have to struggle for votes of the same electorate. Smaller and internally conflicted groups are obviously less influential politically and internationally and more prone to be influenced by other actors, including relevant state authorities.

…, most of the major minority groups have a kin-state in the region. ‘Kin state involvement in ethnic conflicts is based on an assertion of strong ethnonational ties that cross borders and entails “the right, and even obligation to defend” co-ethnics in another state’ (Caspersen, 2008a: 357)."

Cultural autonomy, reflected in a form of self-government in the areas of education, use of language and media control, establishment of specific associations, foundations, etc. transform into a relevant flow of financial means. In effect, leading a minority council stands for disposal of finances, governing various institutions and controlling minority's media. Therefore the leaders within one minority group are likely to turn against each other, rather then cooperate. The financial and economic benefits may constitute a strong argument for a leadership and influential tools in an impoverished society. Competition there is also very likely to happened, with all of it consequences." Muś, Jan (2013).

Employment patterns in minority organizations and the job market in relation to membership of political parties and citizenship. The membership of a ruling party in Serbia is seen by many citizens as a condition for getting a job or local/government subsidies. Political parties in Serbia, take an interest to have their representatives in the Minority Councils, to ensure paid jobs for its members. In the Serbian Bunjevac community are people who have only economic based motives to declare to be Bunjevac Croats, to ensure access to the EU (labour migration and education within the EU). BEC

Bunjevac community oriented political parties in Croatia and Vojvodina/Serbia: HBS - Hrvatske bunjevačke stranke, DSHV - Demokratski savez Hrvata u Vojvodini, SBB - Savez bačkih Bunjevaca.

© Stichting Bunjevac European Center, 2015