Relations between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are at the lowest possible level ever. As neighbors, we should discuss these relations and all the problems that burden our society, it was said today from the Conference of Civil Society Organizations and the Academic Community on the topic “Relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia – open issues and perspectives”.
Vladimir Andrle, the president of the organizing committee of the Conference, said that the fundamental goal of this conference is to create awareness of good neighborly relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
“Because we realized, we are witnesses, that these relations are at the lowest possible level ever here. We believe that we, as neighbors, should talk about these relations and all these problems that burden our society, both Bosnian and Serbian. These are mainly political relations between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, primarily in terms of meddling in internal affairs by the Serbian political establishment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But there is also the issue of borders, confirmation of borders between these two countries, dealing with the past, specifically with the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina and all that aggression brought, especially the genocide in Srebrenica,” explained Andrle.
He believes that there are many topics that should be discussed.
“I think that we have enormous tampering with the internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this particularly concerns the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, changes to the Constitution, adaptation of the Constitution in the context of the implementation of the judgments of the Court of Human Rights. There is also a social aspect. Today we occasionally hear that some Belgraders they have never been to Sarajevo because they are afraid to come. And that is a product of that nationalist policy, not only in Serbia, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina on all sides. We have two societies that need to cooperate, they must cooperate because in a way we depend on each other from others, and on the other hand, we neither cooperate nor connect,” Andrle pointed out.
He is of the opinion that precisely because of this, this conference is one of the aspirations to try to open channels of communication between the civil sector from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, so that they could then discuss these relations at a higher level.
He believes that the conference is a good opportunity to talk about how to build good neighborly relations.
“This is a good opportunity, I think that through conversation and dialogue, relationships are built, and that’s how connections are built between people, between countries, between societies. Here, this is one of the beginnings of creating those connections. How it will unfold depends not only on the civil sector , it depends mostly on politics. The civil sector should be corrective to politics and should serve politics, in fact help politics to create that healthy society. Because the civil sector knows the real problems it is in, because we all act as civil organizations, we act locally, at the level. And in principle, we talk about those topics that, it seems, politicians sometimes don’t have the time or pay attention to,” said Andrle.
He reminded that this is not the first time they organize a conference of this type.
“Last year, at the same time, we organized the same conference, in fact of a similar format, with intellectuals and social actors from the Republic of Croatia. Next year, we plan to do it with Montenegro, and then as the finale of all that, we will actually make one big conference, that means most probably in two years, which will bring together social actors, intellectuals, media workers in Sarajevo or somewhere in the region from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia, so that we can then together actually bring and ultimately exert pressure on our state, on our governments and politicians,” Andrle added.
Draško Aćimović, economist and diplomat, former ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Brussels, said that one of the main topics of the conference is economic relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
“Which I think is extremely important, especially in the context of geo-economic relations. As we know, all large companies want to cover the territory, that is, to work in every country in one region. We currently have a situation where large companies are present in Serbia, however, they are not in Bosnia and Herzegovina. So, one of the goals, at least as far as our side of Bosnia and Herzegovina is concerned, is to take advantage of that geo-economic moment and to attract companies that are large global companies, European companies in Serbia, to come to Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Aćimović.
He believes that procedures in terms of investment and company registration are much simpler in Serbia, which is not the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“In the last two years, we have paid more taxes, duties and taxes based on price increases of almost five billion. And of those five billion, I think that at least a part should have been used for these needs. Of course, the largest or most part should have been used for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who are in trouble, that is, who earn less than that social basket, than that consumer basket. I would be very happy and satisfied if our authorities made an effort to start stimulating businessmen,” added Acimovic, AA writes.