Serbia has undertaken to respect the rights of its minorities as part of accession negotiations with the European Union, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn says in a response to a question by Croatian member of the European Parliament Andrej Plenkovic concerning education in the Croatian language in Serbia.

As part of preparations for the opening of Chapter 23 of the acquis communautaire (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights), Serbia undertook to guarantee the exercise of rights by ethnic minorities, notably by adopting a special action plan, Hahn said in his response, carried by the European People's Party on Tuesday.

In October last year Plenkovic put a question to the European Commission (EC) concerning education in minority languages in Serbia, noting that education in minority languages was one of the key aspects of protection of minority rights in Serbia, especially for the Croatian minority because of the unresolved issues of Croatian-language textbooks and teacher training in Croatian.

Legislation on education in minority languages should be implemented consistently throughout Serbia. The interested parties, including Croatia's Council for National Minorities and the Serbian Ministry of Education, should cooperate so as to remove any obstacles to members of the Croatian minority in exercising their right to be educated in the Croatian language, Hahn said.

The commissioner said that the EC would continue monitoring the implementation of Serbia's obligations regarding education in minority languages as part of accession negotiations on Chapter 23.

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