Minorities committee endorses draft gov't budget

The parliamentary Human and National Minority Rights Committee on Monday endorsed the 2016 draft budget with four abstentions.

Those who abstained were Milorad Pupovac and Mile Horvat of the Independent Democratic Serb Party, Italian minority PM and committee chair Furio Radin, and Hungarian minority MP Sandor Juhas, disgruntled over budgetary cuts for minority institutions, refugee returns and housing.

"The reduction of funds for reconstruction and housing is the most worrying because it's about thousands of people who have been waiting for years," Pupovac said, adding that some of the outlays for refugee returns and housing were slashed by more than 70 percent without sufficient explanation.

Juhas complained about budget cuts for the National Minorities Council, through which minority cultural autonomy projects are financed. "It will be hard, not just to maintain the existing standard, but work in general," he said, adding that this was about associations which were often the only ones in charge of cultural life in rural areas.

Vladimir Bilek agreed, warning that funds for cultural autonomy had been cut for years and that this year the National Minorities Council would have 25 percent less funds than five years ago. "Now we are focusing more on absorbing EU funds, but that will be impossible if we don't have our own funds."

The minority MPs said they would submit several amendments to the draft budget.

Last update: Mon, 14/03/2016 - 19:03

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