Language Intergroup leader speaks out on behalf of Vojvodina Hungarians

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Jul 8 13:53:49 UTC 2005

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Language Intergroup leader, Csaba Tabajdi, speaks out on behalf of
Vojvodina Hungarians

Brussel / Bruxelles 7/5/2005 , by Davyth Hicks

Two weeks ago, Mr. Csaba Tabajdi, head of the regional language and
national minority Intergroup and leader of the Hungarian socialists in the
European Parliament requested the concerned bodies of the European
Parliament to put the current situation of the Hungarian minorities in
Vojvodina on the agenda.

On Wednesday (29th June) the European Parliaments Delegation For Relations
With The Countries Of South-East Europe met to discuss a fact-finding
mission to Vojvodina, Serbia in January 2005 sent to review the case on
violent acts and harassments against the minorities in Vojvodina. At the
delegation meeting, which included the Ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro
to the EU and a European Commission representative, Mr Tabajdi spoke about
the harassment of minorities in Vojvodina.

Mr Tabajdis report focused on the continuing harrasment of Vojvodina
Hungarians despite recent efforts to improve the situation. In a press
release he notes that while violent acts have decreased, they still
continue after the visit of the European Union's fact-finding mission,
along with an increase in the acts of harassment against minorities.
Furthermore, the recent wave of proceedings against Hungarian minority
leaders in the Vojvodina has given rise to concern and fear within the
Hungarian minority.

According to Mr Tabajdi because of the unstable political situation in
Serbia both the Serbian ruling and opposition parties aim to curtail the
remnants of the autonomy of Vojvodina. He states that: The aim is clear:
to weaken the only remaining significant political force - the Vojvodina
Alliance of Hungarians (VAH) - which stands in defence of the autonomy in
Vojvodina and against the centralization efforts. The VAH is the last
bastion of the autonomy, because virtually all other pro-autonomy
political parties in Vojvodina were pushed out earlier."

Mt Tabajdi continued that: The main target is Mr. Jzsef Kasza, the
President of the VAH. During the past year Mr. Kasza strongly protested
against Serbian authorities for tolerating violent acts against minorities
in the Vojvodina, and against members of the Hungarian minority in

At the delegation meeting Mr Csaba Tabajdi described the 'Kasza-Case' as a
litmus test of Serbia's democratization process, in the background there
is clearly the struggle between the devoted pro-European democrats, and
the forces of the past. It is a struggle between those who want to see a
Serbia with over-centralized power, and those who  based on the European
principle of subsidiarity  are willing to ensure the peaceful co-existence
of the Serbian majority and different minority communities within the
framework of the autonomy in Vojvodina.

According to a spokesman for Mr Tabajdi the Serbian ambassador recognized
that there are serious problems in Serbia and said that he will look after
the matter, although it will take more time.

The results of the 1991 census gave 344,147 Vojvodina Hungarians. Around
40,000 fled during the war. Other minorities who together make up over 40%
of the region's population are Croats, Slovaks, Romanians, Roma,
Ukrainians and Macedonians. (Eurolang  2005)

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