AMSTERDAM, 23 October 2012 – On 22-23 October, delegations from the Serbian and Romanian Governments met in the Netherlands for informal consultations under the auspices of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), Ambassador Knut Vollebaek.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss the protection and promotion of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, especially in eastern Serbia, based on the assessment of the implementation of the Protocol signed by both sides in Brussels on 1 March 2012, as well as on the HCNM's Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations on National Minorities in Inter-State Relations.
These informal consultations, supported by the HCNM with suggestions based on his findings from visits to both Serbia and Romania, complement the existing bilateral mechanism that both countries have established to promote co-operation on national-minority issues.
During the discussions, the delegations identified practical steps forward to improve access of persons belonging to national minorities in eastern Serbia to broadcast media in the Romanian language; teaching in and of the Romanian language, with cultural elements; and the exercise of religious freedom.
After the meeting, Ambassador Vollebaek said: "I welcome the willingness of both the Serbian and the Romanian Governments to discuss these matters in a constructive manner. I am glad to note that certain progress was made and that both parties found my involvement beneficial."
The parties agreed to meet again in the near future within the format of their Joint Inter-Governmental Commission on National Minorities to discuss further co-operation and issues of concern.