Milanović Responds to Criticism Over Stand at NATO Summit

Total Croatia News

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Photo: Zvonimir Barisin/PIXSELL
Photo: Zvonimir Barisin/PIXSELL

At the Madrid summit this week, NATO invited Finland and Sweden to join. Milanović has long considered that should be made conditional on changes to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s election law, although he says that in principle, he has nothing against the accession of those two countries.

Finland and Sweden will sign NATO accession protocols on Tuesday, which have to be ratified by all member states.

Yesterday, MP Marija Selak Raspudić (Bridge) said Milanović had played with the feelings and rights of Croats in BiH in a way and that “someone could ask him, where are you now, tough guy?”

Speaking to the press today, Milanović referred to her question at least a dozen times.

“What should I have done?… What should I have said? Which stand would have been the right one to satisfy Selak Raspudić?” he said when asked if he should have been more vehement.

“What do you mean, more vehement? To sully Finland and Sweden? I never do that.”

Milanović reiterated that now all the responsibility on their NATO accession “is up to Croatian members of parliament.”

Asked if he would, as he had said, “persecute as sinful souls” those MPs who vote for the accession, he said his message was first and foremost to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković because he missed the chance in Brussels in 23 June to help BiH win EU candidate status like Ukraine and Moldova did.

“Ukraine can’t get candidate status overnight and BiH be left on the side,” he said, adding that many in eastern Europe thought so too, but were using the excuse “well, you know what the situation is.”

Milanović said a number of European leaders thought that Plenković failed to do that for BiH because “he got scared.” “Sometimes you have to stand firmly behind some things. And then the paradox happens that Slovenian and Hungarian Prime Ministers Robert Golob and Viktor Orban do that instead.”

Milanović reiterated that he “would do everything for the election law on BiH to be changed. But my possibilities and powers stop at one point and I can’t prevent someone from signing that accession agreement on Croatia’s behalf.”

“That’s active and topical until October, until election day in BiH, because the election law can be changed today, tomorrow, but if it’s changed in November, it means nothing to us.”

He went on to say that the NATO accession of Finland and Sweden was not a done deal and that the decision made in Madrid to invite them to join “is a general political stand” adopted after Turkey scrapped its blockade.

“You think the story was over with the signing of a memorandum by the three sides? The very next day they requested the extradition of 33 persons,” he said about the memorandum Turkey signed with Finland and Sweden and its demand that they extradite 33 members of the PKK and FETO movement it considers terrorists.

Milanović went on to say that Europe and not the United States would deal with the issue of changes to BiH’s election law. He said Croats in BiH “can be saved only by a miracle” and accused the Croatian government of “sadistic obstruction.”

“That’s the responsibility of Plenković and several of his vassals,” he added and again criticised Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman for not attending the NATO summit.

For more, check out our politics section.


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