Minority Self-Government and Cultural Autonomy in Serbia. From Good Idea to Burdening Practice

In the modern age, the Republic of Serbia is developing a policy of multiculturalism in which minority self-government and cultural autonomy are important pillars. The values of this policy, which correspond to European standards for the protection of national minorities, are enshrined in the country’s Constitution, two basic laws and countless other laws and regulations. However, twenty years after the implementation of such a policy, a high ethnic distance has been maintained in Serbia and there is no trust between ethnic groups. The social reality in Serbia corresponds to the sum of majority and many minority monocultural policies. Faced with mutual bad experiences and waves of populism, members of political elites (majorities and minorities) have developed a policy of segregative multiculturalism in which cultural autonomy and minority self-government are instruments of political centers. Citizens belonging to national minorities are offered a centralized system of minority self-government that addresses voters, not people whose interest is to protect and preserve their ethnic, linguistic and cultural peculiarities. In particular, outside the “concern” of the state and minority self-government are citizens whose identity is rooted in multiple ethnicities.