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news 18 Jun 12

Serbia's Coat of Arms Remains Unresolved

A year after the country formed a commission to resolve the issue of the national emblem, the outcome remains unclear, as a result of which both the old and new ones are still in use.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

A year since the Serbian government formed a commission to resolve the question of the country's official coat of arms, two are still in use.

The confusion started following the adoption of a new coat of arms in 2010, which replaced the old one of the Kingdom of Serbia from 1882.

But the new coat of arms caused a fuss in the public immediately after its adoption.

Critics argued that the new emblem would cost millions of euro, as it would have to replace the old one on all government buildings and diplomatic and consular missions, as well as on official letterheads, banners, uniforms, passports and identity cards and stamps.

In June 2011, the cabinet of the outgoing Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic formed a commission under Predrag Markovic, the outgoing minister of culture, to change the regulation and restore the old one from 1882.

But the Commission's work is still ongoing. "On completion of the work, the Minister [of Culture, Markovic]will inform the government and the public on results," it said in a recent statement. Meanwhile, it added, both the new emblem and the old one are equally valid .

The old coat of arms, designed by Ernst Kral of Vienna at the request of King Milan, reflects the then prevalent influence of German heraldry.

Both coats of arms feature a double-headed white eagle bearing shield on its breast with a cross and four fire-steels and two lilies under the eagle's claws. Above the eagle is a smaller crown. The only difference between the the emblems is that the eagle on the old coat of arms has more feathers and a beak.

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