The European Parliament’s (EP) Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cristian Dan Preda, told N1 in an interview on Thursday that constant political confrontations make young people leave Bosnia.
The EU has noted that for quite some time, particularly during the very long pre-election campaign, the ethno-nationalist rhetoric increased in Bosnia, Preda said.
“As politicians, we, of course, have some roots in the past and it has always been like this but we, the politicians, are there to solve problems an build a future, preferably by consensus. I believe this is the main challenge the country is facing,” he said.
When asked what he thinks of the January 9 ‘Day of Republika Srpska’ celebration which was met with strong criticism by mainly Bosniaks who said it breached a Constitutional Court decision, Preda said that many court decisions have not been implemented in Bosnia.
"It is not up to us in Brussels and Strasbourg to make decisions, you have your own Government and generally speaking decisions by the Constitutional Court should be respected," Dan Preda said.
He added that the problem is not only a characteristic of Republika Srpska and that there are other cases where court decisions have not been implemented in Bosnia.
"Unfortunately, it’s not only that the court decisions concerning Republika Srpska were not implemented," Dan Preda said, adding that "that’s the key problem."
He refused to comment on the attendance of Croatia’s ambassador at the celebration on Wednesday.
"It is not up to me to explain why the ambassador decided to take part in such a ceremony. For me the key is that Bosnia and Herzegovina has many social and economic problems and instead of trying to improve the social and economic situation the citizens are in, we see political confrontations all the time, every week," he said.
"Those confrontations are discouraging young people who do not believe in a future in this country and that’s why they are leaving," he said, adding that "that’s very sad."
Asked whether Bosnia could obtain the status of an EU candidate in 2019, Preda said he hoped the country will solve its problems with education and that officials in Sarajevo have convinced him that would happen soon and that the additional questions the EU Commission had sent to the country would also soon be answered.
"We know of the ability of Bosnia’s politicians to invent obstructions, but we also know that there are a lot of experts and that there is a lot of goodwill to solve these issues and I encourage them to do so," Dan Preda said.