site.btaBulgarian as Minority Language in Serbia: Progress Made, but More Efforts to Spread Its Use Needed - Council of Europe
Over the past five years, Serbia has made progress in fulfilling its obligations under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML), but bilingual education needs to be expanded, as well as the use of minority languages in the media, while national minority councils need to be strengthened, the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts said in a statement to BTA on Wednesday in its latest report for the period until October 2022. Bulgarian is among the minority languages in Serbia included in the charter.
ERCML was adopted in Serbia in 2006 and applies to Albanians, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Bosniaks of Croatia, Croatians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Macedonians, Roma, Romanians, Ruthenians, Slovaks, Ukrainians and Vlachs. The report notes the situation for each of these languages and identifies whether there has been improvement, deterioration or no change.
As far as Bulgaria is concerned, the ERCML Committee of Experts recommends native speakers of Bulgarian in Serbia to be encouraged to use their language when contacting local branches of the Bulgarian authorities and to facilitate the production of documents in Bulgarian by the relevant authorities. It also suggests including content on Bulgarian language and culture in the curricula, training teachers and including educational materials in formal education, as well as encouraging the mass media to draw attention to Bulgarian language and culture in the training of reporters and journalists.
The Committee recommends facilitating the offer of Bulgarian as a subject in adult education in Serbia and increasing the number of official documents published by local authorities in Bulgarian. It also suggests encouraging Bulgarian speakers to use the language in their communication with public service providers and ensuring that public radio programmes are broadcast in Bulgarian. The Commission also recommends the establishment of a Bulgarian-language newspaper to be published at least once a week and supported by Serbia.
The report points out that Serbia has made progress in implementing the ERCML and that the introduction of minority languages into official use continues and has been accelerated. While these decisions represent commendable progress in additional municipalities where minority languages are traditionally used, including Roma and Ukrainian, these languages are yet to be brought into official use.
A number of cultural activities in all minority languages have been supported by the Serbian authorities.
The Fifth Report of the Committee of Experts of the ERCML was based on information provided by governmental and non-governmental sources, including that acquired during the Commission's visits to Serbia in October 2022.