Slovenian minority in Croatia faces low political participation and teacher shortages
Zagreb, 27 September - Shortages of Slovenian language teachers are a key challenge of the Slovenian minority in Croatia, said the head of the parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad Suzana Lep Šimenko at the start of her three-day visit to Croatia on Wednesday. Representatives of the minority also noted the poor results of Slovenians at minority elections.
Lep Šimenko believes that the Slovenian community is otherwise functioning well. As the commission will adopt a budget in the next two months, it is important to understand the challenges of the community and adapt funding, she said.
Barbara Riman, the head of the Union of Slovenian Associations in Croatia, informed the commission on the relatively poor results at the minority elections in May.
The Slovenian minority lost the right to councils and representatives in several counties after the 2021 census showed a decrease in the its size. It also failed to elect representatives in several cities and counties near the border with Slovenia as no candidates applied.
The Slovenian minority also had the lowest voter turnout of all minorities in Croatia at the elections in May with only 4.6% turning out at the polls.
According to the 2021 census, in which 7,729 persons declared themselves as Slovenian, the number of Slovenians living in Croatia decreased by 30% compared to the 2011 census. The population of Croatia decreased by only around 10% in the same period.
"This difference does not make sense," said Barbara Antolić Vupora, a member of the Slovenian minority and an MP in the Croatian parliament. She estimates that around 4,000 Slovenians were not included in the census.
In what is the first such visit of the commission to Croatia since 2017 Lep Šimenko will meet with Slovenian associations and with minority representatives in local and regional bodies and the parliament.