The Declaration on a Common Language, which states that the language used in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro "is a common standard language of a polycentric type", was presented in Sarajevo on Thursday, with one of its initiators, Croatian writer Ivana Bodrozic, stressing that the initiative was not about the creation of a Yugoslav or Balkan language.
The Declaration, published on the web site www.jezicinacionalizmi.com, says that the four countries share a common linguistic standard of a polycentric type, a language spoken by several nations in several countries with recognisable variants.
"All four current standard variants are equal, one cannot say that only one is a language while others are variants of that language," reads the declaration.
Bodrozic dismissed claims that efforts were being made to forcibly challenge the existence of the Croatian language.
"We do not want to change the Constitution or introduce anything by repression, we do not want to force anyone to anything. We do not want a common name for the language, we do not want to call it the Yugoslav or Balkan language, we want every nation to call its variant the way it wants to," she explained.
The declaration reads that insistence on the small number of linguistic differences and on "the forcible separation of the four standard variants" results in numerous negative social phenomena, which professor Enver Kazaz said was especially the case with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Kazaz also said that the initiators of the Declaration had the ambition of turning their initiative into a model for the establishment of intercultural schools where classes would not be held in line with separate ethnic curricula.
"This declaration proves what is obvious, it proves that children in Bosnia and Herzegovina are exposed to ethnic ideological hatred in the education system," Kazaz said, adding that work would begin on developing "an intercultural model of education" for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Attending the presentation of the Declaration were also Vladimir Arsenijevic of the Krokodil association, writer and journalist Balsa Brkovic, and the head of the Centre for Cultural Decontamination, Borka Pavicevic.
The Declaration on a Common Language has so far been signed by more than 2,000 people, including numerous linguists, writers, researchers and activists.