The European Commission reacts to the Pelješac Bridge controversy.
The loud opposition of a part of Bosniak politicians from Bosnia and Herzegovina trying to delay the start of the construction of the Pelješac Bridge will probably not lead the European Commission to suspend its decision to co-finance the project with 357 million euros from EU funds, but it could cause political caution within the Commission and may slow down the withdrawal of the money, reports Večernji List on September 11, 2017.
That can be inferred from a response which the European Commission spokesperson Johannes Bahrke gave to inquiries about the fate of the financing for the Pelješac Bridge, after public statements and letters from Sarajevo, which in recent days arrived at some addresses in Brussels.
“It is crucial for us that Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina maintain good neighbourly relations and solve this issue with constructive dialogue. The European Commission is closely monitoring the development of events on this matter. Before approving the project on 7 June 2017, the Commission had carefully analyzed the application for European funding for the Pelješac Bridge project submitted by Croatia, and checked that all prerequisites and procedural steps were in accordance with the rules of the cohesion policy,” Bahrke said and added something which could be understood a message to the Croatian government and relevant ministries that they should better coordinate the project with Bosnia.
“In the preparation and implementation of projects financed by the EU, we have trust in our partners in the member states that they will conduct necessary consultations with their neighbouring countries,” concluded the European Commission spokesperson.
At the ceremony of signing the decision on co-financing of the Pelješac Bridge, which the European Union will co-finance with 85 percent of the total cost, European Commissioner Corina Cretu said that she personally asked the EU Delegation in Sarajevo to “communicate to the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina her gratitude due to their constructive approach to this decision.”
Now, when the approach of Sarajevo is no longer very constructive, the Commission is still signalling that it is crucial for them that no one in Bosnia opposes the construction of the Pelješac Bridge, although it is equally clear to everyone that the decision to co-finance the project, which has already been made, cannot be so easily overturned.
Translated from Večernji List.