Protesters have been gathering for two days in the Croat city of Vukovar, tearing down bilingual signs in Cyrillic that were installed on official buildings, as requested by the Croatian Constitution. The incidents were reminiscent of tensions dating back to the Yugoslav war of the 1990s.
Croatian and Serbian languages are very similar and both groups can understand each other without problem. The only difference is their alphabet. Catholics use the Latin alphabet while the Orthodox use the Cyrillic one.
Dennis Abbott, the European Commission spokesperson on education, culture and multilingualism said yesteday that the “respect of cultural and linguistic diversity is a cornerstone of the EU and recognised in EU law." However he added that "national language policies, such as this one, are not regulated by EU law, and are within the jurisdiction of the member states”