Roma community in Orehovica qualifies for getting bilingual street signs


The Roma ethnic minority in the municipality of Orehovica in the northern Croatian county of Medjimurje make up more than 33 percent of the local population according to the latest 2021 census, therefore meeting the criteria to have bilingual signs posted in streets and on public buildings, state agency Hina said on Friday, in their summary of an article published by the Vecernji List daily.

This is the first Roma community to qualify for bilingual signs in their town, and MP  Veljko Kajtazi, who represents this ethnic minority in the national legislature, told the Zagreb-based daily that he was “satisfied with the outcome” of the 2021 Population Census, “concerning the declaration of ethnicity.”

“Of all the ethnic minorities living in Croatia, the Roma minority is the only one to see their numbers increase over the past decade,” Hina said, without disclosing how many Roma people are living in the country.

The fact that the local Roma community in Orehovica surpassed the 33-percent share of the local population “made Kajtazi happy,” Hina said, as this will enable them to have official signs written in their mother tongue too.

The chairman of the local council, Neven Kreslin, was quoted as saying that he would soon meet with Kajtazi for the talks on setting up the bilingual signs. A majority of local Roma inhabitants speak the Bajaski vernacular, a variant of “starorumunjski” (“old Romanian”) language.

The local elementary school also provides Roma pupils with education in the Romani language under the so-called C model for minorities.

A local, Velibor Balog, told the newspaper that he was “not surprised by the outcome of the census” for his town.

“Our young families have many children. Roma citizens from other parts of Croatia come to live here too,” said Balog, who runs a local farm. He added that the Roma community has electricity and water supply infrastructure, and they now need to be connected to the sewage system.


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