Serbs in Austria tied to their homeland, they help the Serbian people in Kosovo

Aleksandar Matić
Source: Kosovo Online

Serbs in Austria are closely connected to their homeland and closely follow events, especially those related to the Serbian people in Kosovo, for whom they often collect humanitarian aid, the Vice President of the Alliance of Serbs in Austria, Ilija Tufegdzic, emphasized.

He tells Kosovo Online that around 310,000 citizens of Serbian origin live in Austria, who are well organized in clubs, associations, as well as in communities at the provincial level and through the umbrella organization of the Serbian Alliance.

"They are very well informed about events in the homeland, but also about who says what against the Serbian people in Austria and the world. They are very interested in events in Serbia because many, recently, decide to return. Also, they regularly monitor the situation of Serbs in Kosovo," Tufegdzic stated.

He points out that the ties of Serbs in Austria with their homeland are very close because they are close to Serbia, so they often visit.

He also says that a large number of Serbs, through clubs and associations, collect humanitarian aid, primarily for Serbs in Kosovo.

Additionally, he adds that there are members of Serbian descent in Austrian parties who strive to lobby for improving the image of Serbia and the Serbian people in their political environments.

"There are many Serbs in Austria with the right to vote. Until recently, they did not want to get politically involved, but now there are more and more who are active in parties. Members of parties of Serbian descent communicate with each other and strive to protect the interests of the Serbian community," Tufegdzic explains.

He also emphasizes that the Serbian community is well aware of who the Austrian lobbyists against Serbs and Serbia are, such as Andreas Schieder and Lukas Mandl.

"We know well what they are doing and what their goal is. Our goal is to support our candidates who are high on the lists of their parties and gather as many votes as possible to show political parties that Serbs are no longer the ones who don't vote in Austria. This would encourage parties to enable a larger number of Serbs to get positions from which they can be elected to institutions," Tufegdzic notes.

Member of the Serbian Center Aleksandar Matic emphasizes that the situation in which Serbs live in Kosovo, Serbia, and Republika Srpska is very important to Serbs in Austria.

"They are connected to the homeland and families living there. Sometimes it seems that they are too connected and should get more involved in events where they live, in Vienna," Matic believes.

He notes that the Serbian Center has been actively engaged in humanitarian work since 2018, and that even 90 percent of humanitarian events in Austria were held to collect aid for Serbs in Kosovo, primarily for children living there.

"A large part of the funds raised at humanitarian events is collected for our people in Kosovo and Metohija. But it is not just about collecting aid, it is also about going to Kosovo and Metohija. It is encouraging that a large number of Serbs from Austria have visited Kosovo and Metohija and got acquainted with the situation on the ground," Matic emphasized.

He calls on clubs and associations of the Serbian community to unite more around humanitarian projects and visits to Kosovo.

He supports the organization of the All-Serbian Assembly and reiterates the importance of uniting Serbs in Austria.

"Serbs in Austria need to listen to each other, organize, come together, and work on joint projects. Not to divide, because it's not the time for divisions but for unity and helping our people wherever they live. We need to show greater unity so that our voice is heard stronger in Austria," Matic concluded.