Looking after Serbs in the region and the diaspora remains a priority

03. Jan 2022.
In the period ahead, the care for Serbs in the region and the diaspora would remain one of the priorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Minister Nikola Selakovic, adding that efforts would continue on the preservation of the national and cultural identity of persons belonging to the Serbian people wherever they lived.

Selakovic pointed out that to Serbia, as a country bordering eight states, relations in the region were extremely important, and that the further development of promotion of regional integration, such as the "Open Balkan" initiative, could therefore bring a lot of good not only to Serbia, but also to everyone around Serbia.

As one of the priorities in the work of the line ministry in the coming period, Selakovic emphasized continuing to look after the Serbs in the region and the diaspora.

"This is something we pay a lot of attention to, we invest a lot in this kind of activities and I am convinced that with the significant results we have already achieved in this field, we will have even greater motivation to make considerable efforts in the future when it comes to our emigrants, as well as persons belonging to our people in the region", Selakovic said in an interview with Tanjug, talking about the ties between the motherland and the people in the diaspora.

Noting that Serbia still had a lot more to do on that issue, the Head of Serbian diplomacy emphasized the work done so far to preserve the national and cultural identity of members of the Serbian people, as well as what had begun last year - expanding the network of schools for learning the Serbian language and about its culture.

Selakovic pointed out that in just one year, for the first time, independently of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that is, the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region managed to open 26 new supplementary schools of Serbian language and culture.

Furthermore, in one year, the number of students in those schools increased by 20 percent.

"This was carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the first time, and in the first year, we had one such result, as the Director of the Office, Arnaud Gouillon, and I attached great importance to this matter", said Selakovic. 

The Minister is convinced that the Government would also recognize their efforts and results, and that in the coming period it would provide them with even more funds and support to deal with this issue.

The second priority, as Selakovic said, was to help our compatriots, especially in the region, especially in those areas where life was extremely difficult or in areas affected by war in the 1990s.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy said that concrete help ensured the greatest benefit in this context, and that such assistance had already been provided to Serbs in Posavina, Grahovo, Bosanski Petrovac.

He said that, in this way, assistance was being provided to compatriots in the region, specifically in places where such help would be essential for their survival, for their life, existence.

"As much as someone malicious or condescending laughed at it, when you give a cow to a family with 16 children, you gave them a job in that household, a source of income, and today our state is doing something like this for the first time, through the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region", Selakovic underlined.

When it comes to the diaspora in a broader sense, that is, our emigrants on other continents and in other European countries, Selakovic said that it was key that our diplomatic and consular missions, in addition to representing our country before foreign governments, worked as a service for our citizens in the diaspora.

"This has rarely been the case so far, as a result of an unsteady and ever-changing practice, and that must be an imperative. We have faced one part of the system which was not renewed and properly invested in for years, which stalled, and at one point became overloaded, and we will work a lot harder on that matter", announced the Head of Serbian diplomacy.

He said that the plan was to work on the registry of the diaspora, that is, to attempt to register and gather Serbs in the diaspora in an informal way.

Selakovic said that our people in the diaspora had its associations, but that many did not have the time to engage with associations, and that the plan was to bring all these people together, and to promote the common denominator for all of them, as well as for us here, and that is Serbia.

"We can differ in many ways, but when it comes to our motherland, there is no difference whatsoever. We will continue to work in that direction, and in order to achieve all that and to continue the upward trend in dealing with these issues of existential importance for us, it is essential to preserve peace and stability in Serbia", Selakovic said.

In this way, peace and stability will be preserved in our entire region, Selakovic stated and added that this was also a guarantor of economic development.


Source: Tanjug