POLITICS

Croatian PM: BiH can function better only if all its constituent Peoples are satisfied

Bosnia and Herzegovina can function better only if all its constituent peoples are satisfied, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Zagreb on Tuesday, stressing that it is necessary to ensure that the Croats choose their own representatives at all levels of government by themselves.

“Our position towards Bosnia and Herzegovina is clear and friendly,” Plenković told reporters after a meeting of the ruling coalition.

Bosnia and Herzegovina can function better, it can be easier for it on its reform path and it can be faster on its EU journey only if all its constituent peoples are satisfied, the prime minister said.

Earlier today, Plenković met in Zagreb with the US State Department’s special envoy for electoral reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Matthew Palmer.

“We presented our position and listened to his,” Plenković said, adding that Croatia’s position is that the constituent peoples should elect their own legitimate representatives to the highest representative bodies and the presidency.

“The legitimate representation of the Croats as a constituent people is of particular importance. There should be no anomalies such as that representatives of another people in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely the Bosniaks, choose a Croat member of the presidency for the Croats. This has been going on since 2006 and we are not pleased with this situation,” the Croatian PM said.

The existing electoral law makes it possible for the more numerous Bosniaks to choose a Croat member of the tripartite state presidency and Croat delegates to the upper house of the parliament of the Bosniak-Croat Federation entity.

To prevent such practice, Bosnian Croat leaders demand that electoral legislation be changed in accordance with a Constitutional Court ruling, while Bosniak parties give priority to ensuring compliance with the European Court of Human Rights ruling, which says that Bosnia and Herzegovina discriminates against members of its non-constituent peoples because they cannot run for the state presidency.

Plenković said that the US and the EU should help the political parties and leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reach an agreement on amending the electoral law before the end of 2021.

“Our wish is for any such amendments to be agreed by consensus, if possible, of all stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said.

INA not the only issue important for relations with Hungary

Commenting on the final court ruling against former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader for taking a bribe from the CEO of the Hungarian energy group MOL, Zsolt Hernadi, Plenković said that the ruling would not undermine Hungarian-Croatian relations.

The issue of INA, the Croatian oil and gas company, “is not the only issue that is important for cooperation between the two countries,” Plenković said.

The Croatian Supreme Court said in the rationale of its judgment that Sanader and Hernadi had agreed to ensure, for a bribe of €10 million, the conclusion of unfounded amendments to the agreement on INA, in which the Croatian government has a slightly lower stake than MOL. The amendments were meant to give MOL predominant control over INA.

Sanader and Hernadi also arranged the conclusion of an agreement on divesting INA’s unprofitable gas business, which was to be entirely taken over by Croatia.

Source: HINA news agency

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