The objection of Croatia to the decision of the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Union (FVO) that some dairies in B&H can export thermally processed milk to the EU market again as of August 26th is actually the culmination of the “trade war” which started when Croatia became a member of the European Union. Blocking of the export of milk from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU can be characterized as a kind of blackmail. Within the institutions of the EU there exists a will to resolve the problem over the export of milk from B&H to the EU.
Practically, the “trade war” between B&H and Croatia has been ongoing since 2013, since Croatia became a member of the EU. The culmination of the trade turmoil followed last week, with the news that the decision allowing the import of milk from B&H to the EU has been suspended. An appeal against that decision was submitted by the neighboring Croatia!
The Prime Minister of Croatia Zoran Milanovic overtly admitted that the blockade of the import of milk in the EU is the Croatian pressure on B&H, and that it is a kind of blackmail, given that Croatia was unable to keep the duty-free regime CEFTA with B&H and Serbia when it became a member of the EU.
“We request that certain traditional quota of Croatian export to B&H as of before 2013 are still respected. That is what B&H has been successfully circumventing for a year and a half, and there is no ethnic difference between them – they are united when it comes to money”, Milanovic said immediately after the news that Croatia has blocked the export of milk from B&H reached the public.
It is good that Zoran Milanovic noticed that the attitudes are unique in B&H when it comes to the common interests of all peoples. Thus, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of B&H has been leading the “trade war” with the same ferocity with Zagreb and Brussels while Mirko Sarovic was the head of that department, as well as in the period when he was not in that position.
“The proposal of the European Union that Croatia retains the duty-free regime CEFTA with B&H even after July 1st 2013 is not fair and is contrary to the interests of our economy”, said Sarovic back then, the first time he was dismissed from the position of head of that department. However, that was not just his attitude. Immediately after his dismissal, the former Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of B&H Ermina Salkicevic-Dizdarevic (SDP) said that it was not only the attitude of the Minister Sarovic, but that it was the attitude of B&H that the minister expressed in the name of the negotiating team.
However, due to the refusal of Serbia and B&H to enable the export of products at zero or preferential customs for Croatia, the losses were evident in numerous Croatian companies. Thus, for example, in 2012 Croatia exported approximately 540 million euros worth of goods to the CEFTA countries, and the most of it precisely to B&H and Serbia. According to estimates of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, due to the newly emerged crisis since June 2013 the losses of Croatia amounted to about a hundred million EUR.
It is necessary to mention that in 2012 Croatia exported 34.000 tons of milk and dairy products to our country, while already in 2014 that export fell to 12.000 tons.