(MTI) – Serbians fear losing territory in Vojvodina, and this fear is at the root of current attacks against a statute adopted by the Serbian parliament in 2009 on recognising Vojvodina (Vajdasag) as an autonomous province in which traditional multiculturalism is preserved, academic Tibor Varady said today.
The Serbian constitutional court ruled last December that the statutes of Vojvodina — which despite the clause that Vojvodina is an inseparable part of Serbia — need to be redrafted within six months. Certain sections of the law on national councils were also found unconstitutional and many of their acquired rights have been cut back.
The virtual dismantling of the Statute of Vojvodina and the national councils in Serbia are rooted in the “Kosovo tragedy”, a great trauma for Serbia, said Varady, a professor of the Central European University in Budapest and Emory University in Atlanta.
In a lecture given at the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Institute, Varady noted that Serbian feelings about Kosovo had not yet been overcome, and these passions fed into attitudes regarding Vojvodina. But since the proportion of ethnic Hungarians in Vojvodina is only around 10 percent, this fear is unfounded, he added.
A Serbian constitutional court decision last December, which “for all intents and purposes disqualified” the statutes, was a marked demonstration of these fears, he said, adding that the current attacks against national councils were similarly motivated.
Since a dedicated law was passed on national councils in 2009, the councils have received real power. The Hungarian national council has made better use of these powers than other councils, thanks to the involvement of a wider circle of intellectuals, he said.