Bosnia must form a government as soon as possible and while the country should adopt the Annual National Programme (ANP), an essential document on its NATO membership path, the issue should not be “treated as a platform for further internal bickering,” Defence Minister Marina Pendes said on Wednesday, according to the main Croat party in the country, the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH).
“The functioning of the institutions and the establishment of the government are necessary for achieving stability and meeting all the goals which are ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is necessary to swiftly implement the results of the 2018 General Election and form the government through an agreement between the election winners,” said Pendes, a member of the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), the main Croat ethnic party in the country.
Bosnia has not formed a government - officially called the Council of Ministers - since the October 2018 election because the Bosniak and Croat members of the tripartite Presidency refuse to vote for the new prime minister.
The new head of government is supposed to come from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), but the party opposes the country’s path toward NATO membership and announced it would not allow the next step in this direction to be made.
Sending the ANP is the next step, and the Bosniak and Croat Presidency members insist on it.
While the HDZ BiH has been voicing support for Bosnia’s NATO integration, the party has also entered an alliance with the SNSD which does not want that.
“Technical issues such as the ANP must not be abused,” Pendes said, pointing out that Bosnia took over obligations which need to be met for the country to prove that it is a serious party among Euro-Atlantic partners.
“With the implementation of the ANP, the potential for fulfilling defined strategic goals and priorities is being created. Through the implementation of the chapter on defence and military issues, the Armed Forces will be able to implement the tools of partnership cooperation more efficiently in order to increase their capabilities and effectiveness, as well as that of Bosnia’s security system,” she said.
The ANP must be forwarded to the Council of Ministers, Pendes stressed.
“When taking into account the current moment in the political process, the interests, goals and expectations of all of Bosnia’s peoples, it shouldn’t be allowed for such a technical issue as the adoption and the presentation of the ANP to be treated as a platform for further internal bickering,” she said.
Pendes added that Bosnian Croat representatives will “continue to advocate for Bosnia to fulfil its strategic foreign policy goals and join the EU and NATO.”