This is the reason why all minorities in Albania are experiencing major problems with realisation of their rights, said Cotric who recently visited Albania as a member of the Serbian parliament delegation.
He noted that members of national minorities in Albania cannot attend schools and get information in their mother tongue, nor are they able to establish institutional cooperation with their mother country.
If the Tirana government adopted a law on national minorities, it would make it possible for Serbia to close an intergovernmental agreement on national minority protection with Albania, Cotric said.
He noted that Serbs in Albania are facing major problems, and noted that the Tirana government has even banned the course of the Serbian language which was organised in Fiera, central Albania, for the past five years, as the Albanian authorities decided that the course does not meet certain requirements envisaged in the law.
Cotric noted that during their stay in Tirana, the three-member delegation of the Serbian parliament Committee on the Diaspora had a chance to meet with the Albanian minister of education and sport and discuss the search for a solution to this problem.
We asked for the school in Fiera to be allowed to organise the course of the Serbian language after regular classes and for the students to be allowed to attend the lessons of Serbian in the school instead of having to meet in a private house as was the case so far, he said.
Cotric also pointed to the problem of changes in Serb names and surnames which were albanised during the mandate of communist dictator Enver Hoxha.
Until now, complicated and expensive procedures posed the main problem because changing a family name back to Serbian involved around EUR 1,000 of costs, Cotric said and added that this problem has now been resolved, but another issue appeared as only people below the age of 19 are allowed to change their names back to Serbian.
Cotric also said that the latest census of the population in Albania was undemocratic and discriminatory as it did not make room for freedom of national and religious expression and the citizens were demanded to list their nationality as Albanian, just as they were listed in the birth register.
These are major problems which Serbs in Albania are facing, he noted and added that according to some estimates, around 30,000 Serbs are currently living in Albania and they do not even have a permanent priest in the only Serbian church in Vraki near Skadar.
We hope this problem will be solved in cooperation between the Orthodox Churches of Serbia and Albania, he noted.
The delegation of the Committee on the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, comprising Cotric, committee chair Janko Veselinovic and committee member Milan Djurica, visited Albania from November 30 to December 4.
During the visit, the delegation had a chance to learn more about the position of the Serb minority in the country and the problems the community in facing. The Serbian parliament delegation also met with Albanian parliament Deputy Speaker Vangjel Dule, Minister of Education and Sport Lindita Nikolla and chair of the parliamentary group of friendship with Serbia, Ombudsman Igli Totozani.