A Week in Croatian Politics – BiH & Anti-Fascism

Lauren Simmonds

croatian politics
Photo: Dubravka Petric/PIXSELL

June the 23rd, 2023 – This week in Croatian politics, a joint session between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina narrowly avoids a scandal, and Croatia’s anti-fascism struggle day is marked for this year.

A Joint government session with Bosnia and Herzegovina is held, and a scandal is narrowly bypassed

A joint session of the governments of the Republic of Croatia and the neighbouring Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was held, and everything almost turned into a scandal.

Two ministers from Republika Srpska conditioned their attendance at the aforementioned session of the governments of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina by putting the problematic Trgovska Gora issue on the agenda. This involves Croatia’s intention to dispose of nuclear waste at Trgovska Gora on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The session was called into question as a result of this exact topic

The holding of the session was called into question after a recently held working dinner, during which the ministers couldn’t bring themselves to formally agree on whether the problem of disposal of nuclear and radioactive waste at the Cerkezovac site, on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, would be one of the topics of discussion between the two neighbouring countries.

A burning issue for Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Croatian Government requested, as Klix.ba writes, that the agenda of the joint session with the Council of Ministers not include items related to the construction of this waste disposal facility, the topic of the former Yugoslavia was also to be excluded. They offered to discuss the former under Miscellaneous, but BiH Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Stasa Kosarac said that it was out of the question, and that it had to be a separate point of its own.

“Trgovska Gora is a real issue for BiH and it can’t just be pushed onto the sidelines, or simply not be discussed at all. I don’t want to participate in anything like that. We have an obligation to 250,000 people, as well as adequate decisions in institutions at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina about the unacceptability of building a landfill. This must be respected. The problem of the landfill on Trgovska Gora must be a special item at the top of the agenda,” underlined Kosarac.

Bosnia and herzegovina’s security minister agreed

Security minister Nenad Nesic also confirmed for Klix that he agrees with Kosarac and that he will not participate in the session if Trgovska Gora is not one of the items on the agenda.

The issue clearly isn’t nearly as pressing for the world of Croatian politics in comparison to the level of attention BiH would like it to have. After succumbing to mounting pressure, the Croatian Government apparently agreed to include the topic of Trgovska Gora on the session’s agenda, however it is still unclear what was decided on another disputed issue – the former Yugoslavia.

Plenkovic has stated that he wants to nurture development and cooperation, and not issues between the two neighbouring nations which share a huge level of enmeshment and are deeply intertwined. He believes that the closed session of both governments is good for both nations as we go forward, especially as BiH continues on its EU path.

Croatia marks Anti-Fascist Struggle Day for 2023

Photo: Edina Zuko/PIXSELL

June the 22nd is a public holiday each year in Croatia as the country marks anti-fascist struggle day, commemorating the formation of the First Sisak Partisan Detachment, a Communist-led guerrilla unit during WWII.

While others from Croatian politics ventured to Osijek and Sisak, President Zoran Milanovic travelled across the border. He referred to the Partisans from Dalmatia who perished in the battle of Sutjeska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) as freedom fighters who went against Nazism and fascism.

”The Partisans displayed incredible morale, strength, perseverance and they made enormous sacrifices. This battle didn’t turn the course of the war, nor were the partisans such a huge force, but with incredible morale, strength, persistence, intelligence and huge sacrifices, they showed that whoever is ready to make such sacrifices has a great chance of winning,” Milanovic stated, adding that the Partisans did great things and bad things as well.

“There were also murders and war crimes committed by these forces,” concluded President Milanovic while paying his respects to the approximately 6000 individuals who died in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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