Public Administration Recruitment Practices in Croatia and Slavonia (1868–1918) with Regard to Citizenship and Croatian-Slavonian Affiliation

  • Ivan Kosnica Assistant professor at the Chair of Croatian Histroy of Law and State, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Keywords: public administration, Croatia and Slavonia, employment, citizenship, Croatian-Slavonian affiliation, Croatian language


The paper deals with the concepts of Hungarian-Croatian citizenship and Croatian-Slavonian affiliation and their relevance for hiring practices for positions of public office in Croatia-Slavonia in the period from the Croatian-Hungarian Compromise in 1868 until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918. The author takes issue with the claim advocated by Croatian public law theoreticians at the end of 19th and the beginning of the 20th century that Croatian-Slavonian affiliation was a key requirement for positions of public office in Croatia-Slavonia. In support of his argument the author analyses the relevance of citizenship and Croatian-Slavonian affiliation for hiring practices in Croatia-Slavonia in the time before the Croatian-Hungarian Compromise. Further, the author analyses the norms which the Croatian-Hungarian Compromise considered relevant for appointment to public office in Croatia-Slavonia, as well as the stand Croatian legal doctrine has taken regarding the relevance of Croatian-Slavonian affiliation for employment in public office in Croatia-Slavonia. He goes on to analyse the relevance of Hungarian-Croatian citizenship and Croatian-Slavonian affiliation regarding employment in specific administrative areas, namely autonomous administration, healthcare, schools and joint Hungarian-Croatian offices in Croatia-Slavonia. The author ends by analysing the relevance of appointment to public office for the acquisition of Hungarian-Croatian citizenship and Croatian-Slavonian affiliation. It is concluded that in the Croatian-Slavonian legal system many administrative areas did not view Croatian-Slavonian affiliation as a key requirement for positions of public office. Instead, the key criteria for employment were Hungarian-Croatian citizenship and a command of the Croatian language. The author states that it was not Croatian-Slavonian affiliation but a command of Croatian that proved to be a key barrier which prevented many Hungarians from being appointed to public office in Croatia-Slavonia. An exception to this were the hiring practices of the state railway company, where Hungarian was regularly used even in Croatia-Slavonia.