The Croatian Minority in Romania
Starting with the 14th century, Croats began to migrate to Romania in several waves. Romania’s Croats can be divided into three groups, each with its own specific characteristics, albeit each with slight linguistic differences. The first of these groups live in Rekaš, a village, 30 km east of Timisoara; the other, a smaller one, lives in Keča, west of Timisoara. The third, and the largest group of Croats, about 6,500, lives south of Timisoara in the Caraş-Severin County (the capital Rešica), i.e. in the two municipalities, Lupak and Karaševo. They are known as Karaševki Croats or „Karaševci“. Croats in Romania, and especially Karaševki Croats represent the oldest Croatian minority, and from the point of view of linguistics and ethnography they are the best preserved minority. The dialect of the Karaševski Croats ranks among very rare Štokavian dialect. To date they have retained their original identity, thanks to the high level of awareness of their origin, but also to the infrastructure of their isolated villages. Most members of the Croatian ethnic minority in Romania live in rural communities as poor farmers and cattle herders. The Croatian mother tongue is used in everyday communication amidst the Croatian population seeking to preserve its national characteristics. The number of Croats in Romania is estimated to be around 7500. In Rešica, which is a regional hub there are 296 inhabitants of Croatian nationality.
In Romania's jurisdiction, Croats are recognized as a separate national minority. Pursuant to the Constitution of Romania of 1991, members of the Croatian minority in this country have a right to preserve, develop and express their ethnic identity (Article 6); right to learn the Croatian language and right to be educated in the Croatian language (Article 32); right of the Croatian associations to have a representative in the Parliament of Romania (Article 59); right to the official use of the Croatian language in court; and right to be issued official documents in the Croatian language (Article 127). The Romanian government sets aside money for national minorities, including the Croatian minority in Romania. Also, every year, within the framework of the program designed for helping the Croatian minority in Romania, the Republic of Croatia allocates funds for the maintenance of the Croatian language and the preservation of cultural identity of the Croats in Romania.
Associations, publishing and media
The Romanian Croats are organized in two associations. The first association is known as „Zajedništvo“, founded in 1991 as an ethnic and socio-cultural association and based at Karaševo. The prime goal of this association is the preservation of Croatian folk customs, religion, language and culture. In 1998 another Croatian association was founded under the name “The Croat Democratic Union of Romania“ (Demokratski savez rumunjskih Hrvata), based in Klokotić. There is a cultural and artistic groups in Karaševe known as "Karaševska zora", and in Klokotići, a folk group "Klokotić" is also active along with some sport clubs. The Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia, donates regularly books for schools in seven villages of the Caraş Severinske county, predominantly inhabited by the Croats.