ZAGREB, November 21, 2018 – Croatia is the biggest advocate of the inclusion of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European integration processes and insists on real equality in that country and on enabling the local Croats, the least numerous people, to exercise their rights, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday after Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency was inaugurated in Sarajevo earlier in the day. He further commented on the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The new presidency includes Šefik Džaferović as the Bosniak and Milorad Dodik as the Serb member and Željko Komšić who sits on the presidency as the Croat representative and whose election provoked anger among most Croats who hold that Komšić won the seat due to the ballots of Bosniak and non-Croat voters in the country’s Federation entity.
“Croatia’s position is absolutely firm and clear both before the 7 October elections and in all these years and after the elections,” Prime Minister Plenković said in Senj on Tuesday evening when asked by the press if there were some changes in Croatia’s stance to its neighbouring country after on Monday Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić informed her colleagues in the European Union in Brussels of Zagreb’s concern about the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). At Croatia’s request, the EU foreign ministers discussed the latest developments in BiH. The Croatian minister said in Brussels that: “More and more member states understand Croatia’s concern about the status of Croats, one of the three constituent peoples. We expect further discussion in the near future.”
Croatia has embarked on a diplomatic campaign to point out that Komšić was elected as the Croat member of the Presidency with Bosniak votes, contrary to the spirit of the 1995 Dayton peace agreement, and that the latest elections were held without agreeing on the model of electing deputies to the parliaments’ upper houses after the Constitutional Court ruled that part of the election law is unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, Plenković said that it was essential to avoid scenarios in which the larger constituent people in the Bosnian Federation, and those are Bosniaks, actually elected representatives of the other constituent people. “Croatia’s position is clear and Croatia will raise this issue unless it is solved,” Plenković said adding that earlier in the day he had had extensive talks with Pejčinović-Burić on this matter.
Plenković said that the insistence on the real equality of all the three constituent peoples “is in the interest of the good functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. “Bosnia and Herzegovina has no better advocate, ally and friend than Croatia,” Plenković said underlining that Croatia advocated Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration in European processes.
For more on the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, click here.