At the sitting held on 18 February 2021, the members of the Committee on the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region considered the situation of the Serbian community in the Republic of Croatia with a special focus on the earthquake fallout and the importance of the Republic of Serbia’s assistance in the damage repair.
Committee Chairman Milimir Vujadinovic said that, in recent years and months, we have witnessed our society, as well as society in general, facing natural disasters and social and economic problems. In support of that, he reminded the attending of the floods, earthquakes, migrant crisis, pandemic, stressing that few presidents encountered such difficulties as the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, but also that Serbia emerged victorious from all these problems. He emphasised that Serbia was also selfless in helping other countries, as evidenced by the donation of COVID vaccines to North Macedonia and Montenegro, and vaccination of medical workers from the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. "By doing so, we show that we are real neighbours and that we do not think only of ourselves when it is most difficult. Serbia was one of the largest donors after the earthquake in Croatia. By providing aid, both material and intangible, Serbia proves that it stands for the policy of solidarity and cultivating friendly relations", Vujadinovic stressed.
Dragana Jeckov, a member of the Croatian Parliament and vice-president of the Serbian National Council, addressed the attending, pointing out that Banija, which was devastated by the war, its people displaced, caught in the epidemic and finally destroyed by the earthquake, has the opportunity to be completely revitalised in the broadest sense, economic, infrastructural, social and demographic. "Most of the work needs to be done within the Republic of Croatia, but what must not be forgotten is the fact that the first and most important help came from the Republic of Serbia and I would like to publically thank the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and everyone who had the opportunity to contribute. The help is not only of a material nature, it is an outstretched hand to the Serbian community in Croatia", said Jeckov.
The main coordinator of the Serbian National Council’s action "Banija is our house", Jelena Nestorovic, pointed out that the losses after the earthquake were huge, many people were killed and some villages were razed to the ground. "Banija was left without water, without roads, it will take a long time to remedy and that is not Serbia's responsibility, but Serbia's contribution strengthens Serbs in Croatia," Nestorovic pointed out.
Archpriest Sasa Umicevic spoke about the victims of the earthquake and how disappointed he was every time he was asked what nationality were the victims. "Earthquakes do not choose religion or nationality, they destroy before them. Everything can be repaired and recompensed, but loss of human life irreparable," said the Archpriest. He emphasised that Banija was left deserted, without people, and after the earthquake, the Petrinja parish was left without a single church.
On behalf of the Serb community from the Republic of Croatia, the members of the Committee were addressed by the President of the Joint Council of Municipalities Srdjan Jeremic. He said that for the millionth time the residents of Banija had been left with nothing and Serbia was the first to come to the aid, not only of the Serbian community, but of all citizens of Croatia, regardless of nationality. "The one million euros of aid that Serbia sent to the Government of the Republic of Croatia is intended for all the victims of the earthquake. Serbia has once again proved to be the leader in the region and President Vucic as someone who wants to build good neighbourly relations," said Jeremic, emphasising that Serbia's assistance is continuous and has increased by 300% in the past few years.
The Mayor of Belgrade Zoran Radojicic said that to be able to show solidarity a country needs that an economic basis. "The responsible policy of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and its President Aleksandar Vucic contributes to the fact that Serbia can act responsibly when its neighbours need help", said the Mayor. He stressed that it is necessary to define what our compatriots need and maintain the continuity of providing support and assistance, which will show that we care about each other and that we are one nation.
The Director of the Fund for Refugees, Displaced Persons and Cooperation with Serbs in the Region, Dusko Cutilo, representative of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Djordje Andric, Committee members Prof. Dr Ljubisa Stojmirovic, Milorad Linta and Sanja Lakic also addressed the attending.
At the end of the sittingn, the Committee Chairman read the request of the director of the Serbian House in Podgorica Emil Labudovic, which he personally joined, with an appeal that the film "Dara from Jasenovac", scheduled to premiere on 20 February 2021, be made accessible to Serbian Radio Television viewers in Montenegro.
The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Milimir Vujadinovic, and was attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Aleksandar Cotric, Slobodan Alavanja, Goran Milic, Stefan Srbljanovic, Sanja Lakic, Mladen Boskovic, Janko Langura, Milan Ilic, Miodrag Linta, Aleksandar Markovic, Radovan Tvrdisic, Haji Milorad Stosic, Justina Pupin Koscal and Prof. Dr Ljubisa Stojmirovic.