The mayor of Vukovar, Ivan Penava from the right-wing Homeland Movement, said today that the drop in the number of Serbs in that city below 30 percent is not the result of emigration, but rather the inaccurate population census from 2011.
Commenting on the results of the population census published today, he announced that he will not release or leave any right that was “taken away on the basis of a false census”, Hina agency reported.
“I will propose changes and return things to the state before the 2011 census, when based on false data we were forced to take some steps in an unnatural way, an unnatural way,” said Penava.
He added that as far as the use of the language and script of the Serbian minority in Vukovar is concerned, everything will return to the state before 2011.
“While you have destructive thoughts and policies and statements about Greater Serbia policy or awards to Šešelj, it is clear that in Vukovar the Croatian people, as the majority, have no room for maneuver to make a step forward,” said the mayor of Vukovar.
According to the results of the 2021 population census, there are 3,871,833 inhabitants in Croatia, which is a decrease of 413,056 citizens or 9.64 percent compared to the 2011 census.
The total number of those who declared themselves as Serbs is also lower, in 2021 there were 123,892 (3.20 percent), and ten years earlier there were about 180,000 (4.36 percent).
Vukovar-Srem County recorded the largest decrease in the number of inhabitants. The number of Serbs in Vukovar fell below 30 percent and in 2021 there were 6,890 or 29.73 percent. According to the 2011 census, 34.87 percent of them lived in that city.
The Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities foresees equal official use of the language and script used by members of a national minority in the territory of a local self-government unit when members of a particular national minority make up at least a third of the population in that unit.
The president of the Vukovar branch of the Independent Democratic Serbian Party (SDSS), Srđan Kolar, said that the abolition of some rights of the Serbs in Vukovar will not affect the community much because they could not exercise the rights that were guaranteed to them until now, Hina reported.
He said that the results for Vukovar were expected and the consequence of everything that happened in Vukovar in the last ten years.
“The result is the departure of people from Vukovar, all of them, as well as citizens of the Serbian community,” he added.
The Vice-President of the Croatian Government and SDSS, Anja Šimpraga, said that they will announce the results of the 2021 census when they have analyzed all the data.
Demographer Dražen Živić from the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar estimated that the results of the census in Vukovar are expected to show an increase in the number of Croats and a decrease in the number of Serbs, because when there are changes in the demographic framework, the smaller ones suffer the most.