Representation of National Minorities in the Croatian Public Administration: Effectiveness Assessment of Special Employment Measures
The aim of this paper is to examine the current model of employment of national minorities in the Croatian public administration. The author is focussed on the influence of normative measures applicable to the special forms of national minorities’ employment in the Croatian public administration on the de facto employment status of national minorities. For that purpose, a review and analysis of the Croatian legislation in the field of employment of national minorities in public administration was first carried out with regard to the timeline of the adoption of regulations and provisions regulating special forms of employment. Subsequently, the results of the analysis are presented. After that, the data on the employment of national minorities in the public administration bodies for the 2006–2015 period were examined taking into consideration the number of persons belonging to national minorities employed in organisations and their share in the total number of civil servants employed and employees in general. Based on this, consideration is given to the adequacy of the existing employment model and the need for its change, i.e. the introduction of new / additional employment measures that should contribute to the equitable representation of national minorities in relation to their share in the population.
First of all, this paper provides a short overview of the ‘national minority’ concept, pointing to the fact that there is no unified, universally accepted definition of the term. The Croatian legislation provides for the definition of national minorities and guarantees their equality with the citizens of Croatian nationality. This chapter also deals with the changes relating to the ethnic structure of Croatian society. For that purpose, indexes of change have been calculated on the basis of census data. In the period from 1991 to 2011, the share of persons of Croatian nationality grew by 3.7% while the proportion of members of national minorities decreased by almost 60%. Bearing in mind the existence of different aspects and a variety of models of selection and employment of national minorities that appear in practice, the paper briefly outlines the most frequently used measures that should contribute to the achievement of substantive equality (non-discrimination) and their integration in public organisations. Employment of national minorities in public administration assumes a special approach of selection and employment of civil servants. Changes in the socio-demographic structure of the population, combined with the more and more intensive complexity of modern societies, lead to public policies development and a whole scale of measures which endeavour to reflect the complexity of the social environment through the structure of human resources in the public administration. Additionally, special forms of national minorities’ employment have been developed in the framework of the international antidiscrimination law since mid-1960s. It can be defined as the adoption of a set of special measures of employment aimed at the prevention, reduction or compensation for the disadvantage in areas of employment and integration of minorities in public organisations. Special or positive measures are, in principle, temporary because they should contribute to the improvement of the position of national minorities and, therefore, their duration should be determined by their functional result in response to a concrete problem. Besides, they are perceived as an exception to the general principles of non-discrimination.
In the Croatian public administration, national minorities are employed by applying special employment measures that have been introduced since the beginning of the 1990s in terms of employment obligations for public organisations. Specific regulations do not define specific measures. Their goal and scope were first defined in the Anti-Discrimination Act in 2008, and are related, among other things, to the area of employment, work and working conditions. The law defines them as an exception to the prohibition of discrimination, in accordance with the acquis communautaire. However, special employment measures were not implemented during the 1990s, that is, the suspension of these rights came about. In addition, the mechanisms for securing special employment rights were not stipulated, such as the establishment of records to enable the exercise of rights to special forms of employment to be monitored. The situation in which the laws initially introduced special public administration employment measures in for national minorities, but which were not implemented in practice, continued until the beginning of 2000. It can be concluded, therefore, that the rights of national minorities to exercise special employment measures in this period regressed. In the forthcoming period, the system was improved. Provision was made for the exercise of the right to employment priority which was to ensure the proportional representation of national minorities in the public administration bodies according to their share in the total population. Additionally, mechanisms for monitoring the exercise of the right to representation of national minorities in public administration bodies were introduced. At this stage, the impact of normative alignment with the acquis communautaire and European standards on changes in the employment system was particularly pronounced, so it can be understood as consolidation in the field of employment of national minorities.
Considering the research question of this paper, an analysis of the real effects of positive legislation on the employment of national minorities in the Croatian public administration is provided in the subsequent chapter. Minorities are provided with the right to representation in the state administration bodies, judicial bodies and administrative bodies of local and regional self-government units. Employment data in these bodies have been recorded since 2006. The analysis of the data on the number of persons employed in the state administration bodies belonging to national minorities shows a decrease in the number of employees, i.e. a reduction of the percentage of national minorities in the total number of employees with two basic characteristics. First, the continuous decline in the number of employees over a ten-year period is observed. Second, the share of members of national minorities in the total number of employees is not nearly proportional to their share in the total population. When it comes to the units of local and regional self-government, similar results are observed. During the period under review, there has been a steady decline in the number of minority employees and employees in general, while the share of minority employees in the total number of employees continues to decline. At the same time, the number of units that are required to ensure the representation of members of national minorities in their governing bodies is reduced.
The analysis indicates problems in implementing special measures for the employment of national minorities in the Croatian public administration. Based on this, some conclusions and recommendations are presented in the paper. The first recommendation relates to the establishment of a reliable instrument for monitoring, analysing and evaluating measures that are being implemented, as such does not exist in Croatia. This is especially important because the existing model does not lead to satisfactory outcomes. Second, and in this connection, the unsatisfactory effects of the current model of employment of national minorities in public administration should encourage the adoption of additional employment measures that may be complementary to the employment objectives as the sole and exclusive measure of special forms of minority employment in Croatia. For example, there may be additional measures such as encouraging employment, promotional campaigns, and targeted advertising. Finally, given the fact that the right of national minorities to employment in public administration is stipulated as a right to proportional representation of their share in the total population, which cannot be achieved by the existing measures, it is necessary to consider extending the scope of the bodies obligated to ensure employment priority to members of national minorities in the entire public sector.
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