Minister Kosarac asks urgent Reaction of EU Delegation after Croatia announced to close Five Border Crossings

Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina Stasa Kosarac today requested an urgent reaction from the head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH Johann Sattler due to the announcement that the Republic of Croatia will re-categorize five border crossings with BiH which were previously used for the transit of goods.

Kosarac sent a letter to the Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Satler, after the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Croatia adopted the “Ordinance on determining public roads for the transit of cargo vehicles through the Republic of Croatia”, which unilaterally determines the roads for freight motor vehicles with a carrying capacity of more than 7.5 tons and a total length of up to 14 meters.

“The mentioned Ordinance is a unilateral act and it is not only in contradiction with the Agreement between BiH and Croatia on border crossings, but it is also in contradiction with the provisions of the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and BiH,” warned Kosarac in a letter to the EU Delegation to BiH and the EU Special Representative in BiH.

“Having in mind the above said, we ask for an urgent reaction in order to eliminate the omissions caused by the adoption of the said ordinance, and its harmonization with the Agreement between BiH and Croatia on border crossings, as well as with the provisions of the Stabilization and Association Agreement,” wrote Kosarac in a letter to Ambassador Satler.

“This is unacceptable for us given the fact that it can cause a delay in the placement of goods produced in both the Republika Srpska and the Federation of BiH and can seriously jeopardize the economic and financial viability of the business community of the Republika Srpska and the Federation of BiH, “said Kosarac. 

Stressing that this is a unilateral decision of Croatia, Kosarac expressed his belief that this decision can be corrected. 

“It is very important hat we have good neighborly relations with Croatia, that we have good relations with all European Union countries because we believe that the European Union is our key foreign policy goal and in that context I believe that the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs will respond adequately,” said Košarac . He also said he believes BiH Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic has enough sensibility to put the issue on the agenda of priority issues, given that nothing should be done that would cause a stalemate in BiH’s foreign trade. 

Kosarac emphasized that the problems of businessmen in BiH are also the problems of the government, which is obliged to ensure the best possible conditions for the unhindered flow of people and goods. 

“In that context, we have initiated activities with neighboring Montenegro in order to open the issue of integration of border crossings, which would improve the flow of people and goods and to resolve border congestion. In that context, I believe that based on the good bilateral contacts and relations we have with Croatia, we should treat this issue through the engagement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “said Kosarac. 

Kosarac also stated that he had talks with representatives of the business community in BiH, including the Foreign Trade Chamber, and added that he would use the instruments of contacts with representatives of the European Union in BiH and inform them about the need to change the disputed unilateral decision of Croatia. 

The BiH Foreign Trade Chamber previously sent a letter to the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina stating that Croatia could close five border crossings on the border with BiH. 

Croatia plans to re-categorize five border crossings for freight traffic, namely the crossings Ivanica – Gornji Brgat, Velika Kladuša – Maljevac, Brčko – Gunja, Strmica – Strmica and the border crossing Osoje – Vinjani Gornji. 

The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure of Croatia has established the Ordinance on the regulation of public roads on which the transit traffic of goods vehicles through that country must take place. 

In that way, the use of five border crossings for the transit of goods from Bosnia and Herzegovina through Croatia will be prevented, with a possible series of negative consequences for the Bosnian economy, BHRT writes.

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