Unhappy Neighbours: Ruling Bosniak Party Says No to Pelješac Bridge Construction

Lauren Simmonds

The neighbours still aren’t happy.

Pelješac bridge is one of the main causes of controversy in Croatia when it comes to finally getting around to building it. Talks about the construction of the bridge, which would connect Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the rest of the extreme south of Croatia to the rest of the country without the need for drivers to cross a border through Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina, have been in the works for years. 

The bridge is undoubtedly one of, if not the most strategically important projects for the Republic of Croatia to date, as not only will it unite the country’s territory and make things easier in general, but it will remove the need to cross in and out of the borders of a non European Union country, therefore not only uniting Croatia’s territory, but the territory of the European Union.

Unfortunately, the bridge (which still isn’t even anywhere near built yet), has been the subject of controversy and animosity since day one. The neighbours, who feel that the bridge will be an infringement on their sovreignity and impede their free access to the Adriatic sea at Bosnia and Herzegovina’s only piece of coastline, Neum, have plagued the mere idea of the bridge since the very beginning.

As Dubrovacki Dnevnik writes on the 19th of November, 2017, the main committee of the ruling Bosniak party, Democratic Action (SDA), in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, adopted a resolution on Saturday that requires the Republic of Croatia to cease all activities on the construction of the much-anticipated Pelješac Bridge until an inter-state border is established. The carrying out of a review of the contract with the Republika Srpska on the gas refinery far from the coast in Bosanski Brod, has also been requested.

SDA President Halid Genjac told reporters after the session in Sarajevo that an unanimous conclusion had been reached and that “it is unacceptable to build Pelješac Bridge at the expense of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

”Prior to the construction, the border contract between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, which was signed in 1999, should be ratified, and the bridge should not call into question Bosnia and Herzegovina’s right to open access to the open sea. This isn’t an innocuous approach, but absolute freedom of movement and communication,” – Genjac stated, adding that SDA now expect Croatia to show that it is a member of the European Union and a country which fully respects international law through its next move.

The President of the SDA General Board said they have indications that their views on the earlier conclusions made by the Presidency of BiH will be supported by the European Commission.

”We expect the support of the European Commission after having been thoroughly acquainted with all the relevant facts and documents. We expect the European Commission to ask Croatia to resolve the issues that have been raised by Bosnia and Herzegovina before engaging in the [release of] the approved funds (for the construction of the bridge)” Genjac said, adding that he believed that soon he would receive such a notification from the European Commission.

The SDA’s committee also discussed the current political situation in the country, expressing unanimous support for the work of the president of the party, Bakir Izetbegović.


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