The programme emphasises the importance of having Croatian language and culture instruction offered within the institutional framework of the Republic of Austria under the same conditions as instruction is offered in other mother languages in Austria.
Croatian assistant culture minister Dr Iva Hraste-Sočo and the director of the culture policy directorate at the Austrian federal ministry for Europe, integration and foreign affairs Dr Teresa Indjein signed a cooperation programme agreement in the area of culture and education for the 2016 to 2019 period in Vienna on the 11th of October on behalf of the Croatian and Austrian governments following on an agreement on cooperation in the area of culture and education signed by the two governments in 2004.
As Hraste-Sočo told reporters after the signing ceremony the programme will contribute to further developing bilateral culture and education relations between the two countries and is the logical continuation of the long-standing and fruitful cultural and other relations that exist between Croatia and Austria.
“New, and very important to both Croatia and Austria, is the fact that the programme emphasises the importance of having Croatian language and culture instruction offered within the institutional framework of the Republic of Austria, and that this be done under the same conditions as instruction is offered in other mother languages in Austria,” said assistant minister Hraste-Sočo. She added that Austria has identified this as something that should be offered given the status of Croatian as the 24th official European Union language.
“This is a new and very important opportunity to organise Croatian language instruction at Austrian schools for the children of Croatians living in Austria,” she noted. Asked by a reporter if this meant that Austria was scrapping the existing instruction in the spurious BHS (Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian) “language”, Hraste-Sočo responded by saying that whether to retain it or not was an internal Austrian matter and that what was most important was the fact that Austria would now provide instruction in Croatian in its education system as a distinct and separate European language.
The heads of both delegations assessed the two-day meeting of the mixed Austrian-Croatian commission on collaboration in culture and education as very successful. Among other issues on the table there was discussion of the Austrian-Croatian Year of Culture, which the Austrian federal ministry for Europe, integration and foreign affairs has dedicated to presenting the cultural wealth of our country in 2017. The Croatian embassy in Austria will act as a partner in this project.
Meetings of the mixed Austrian-Croatian commission are held every three years with the aim of introducing new ideas into the programme to advance the collaboration between Croatia and Austria. This year’s meeting in Vienna was a “bulls-eye” hit. (Večerni.hr)
Text by: Snježana Herek