Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that Finland and Sweden could not join NATO before the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina was changed.
The Croatian parliament “must not ratify anyone’s accession to NATO” until that law is changed, he told the press. The accession of Finland and Sweden can be discussed, but it is “a very dangerous adventure,” he added.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, next month the two countries will state their wish to join NATO, their media reported yesterday.
Milanović said that formally he could not decide on his own on their accession to NATO but called it “very dangerous charlatanism.”
“As far as I’m concerned, let them join NATO… but until the issue of the election law in BiH is solved, until the Americans, the English, the Germans, if they can and want to, force (Bosniak officials) to change the election law in the next six months and give Croats their fundamental rights, the Sabor must not ratify anyone’s accession to NATO.”
Milanović said “we are in a terrible situation” because Bulgaria and Romania cannot join Schengen, North Macedonia and Albania cannot begin EU accession negotiations and Kosovo has not been recognised, while Finland “can join NATO overnight.”
We are only asking that Finland and Sweden “tell the Americans to solve this,” he said. “For me, that’s a vital national interest of the Croatian state, nation and people, that BiH be a functioning state.”
Milanović said he raised this issue with his French and German counterparts, but that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, due to his function, had a lot more room for that. “But he is neglecting that consciously and cowardly.”
Asked if Croats in BiH should boycott general elections in October unless the election law was changed, Milanović said he did not know at the moment. “It seems to me the feeling among Croats in BiH is that they shouldn’t boycott so as not to bring into question local government.”
Commenting on the victory of manager Robert Golob and his party in Sunday’s parliamentary election in Slovenia, he said Slovenia had been “left-liberal” for the past 30 years.
Croatia-Slovenia relations have been “really good” in the past two years, he said, adding that this was due also to Prime Minister Janeza Janša, who was defeated in Sunday’s vote.
“We have seen that Croatia-Slovenia relations have been more stable when Janša was in power, but they were not hostile when the left was in power either.”
Tanja Fajon, whom Slovenian media say might be the new foreign minister, was in the past against Croatia’s accession to Schengen.
“If they want to prevent Croatia’s Schengen entry, okay. Croatia won’t go down because of that. They will cause damage to themselves,” said Milanović.
He said Croatia was ready for Schengen already in 2015, but added that it was “a political decision and torture.” He also criticised the fact that Bulgaria and Romania have not yet entered Schengen, despite being in the EU since 2007.
“Slovenia will, if it looks after its interests, ask that Croatia join Schengen. If not, if will have to hire another 20,000 police officers,” said Milanović, who is meeting with Slovenian President Borut Pahor later today, Hina writes.