Kapetanovic: Croatia is Bosnia’s most problematic neighbour

NEWS 30.05.2018 13:17
Source: N1

Bosnia is under strong influences of foreign government and Croatia is it’s biggest problem, said Nermina Kapetanovic, a lawmaker from the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), the main Bosniak party in the country.

“(German) Chancellor (Angela) Merkel said in Malta last year that the EU will do everything to decrease the influence of foreign countries in Bosnia and in other countries in the Western Balkans. This is especially targeted at Russia,” she said.

“We have problems with our neighbors as well, especially with Croatia. There are a lot of unsolved issues we have with Croatia and that overshadows their constant claims that they are our best neighbor, the most honest friend,” she said.

Kapetanovic noted that she is “less and less convinced” that there is a good neighborly relationship between the two countries especially after Croatia tried to deprive Bosnia of its pre-war property on the Croatian coast.

A new Croatian state property law enables Croatia to grant concessions on property owned by Bosnian and Serbian companies that is located in Croatia. Kapetanovic blamed Bosnian Croats in Bosnia’s government for pursuing Croatian interests at the expense of Bosnia’s.

“Croatia’s interests are being protected. We can often hear that Croats from Bosnia are also protecting the neighboring country’s interests regarding the construction of a coastal bridge which Croatia is building although it blocks Bosnia’s free access to the open sea.”

In the case of Bosnia’s pre-war property in Croatia, according to the Succession agreement between former Yugoslav republics, all newly formed countries are obliged to return each other’s property on their territories. Croatia has done this with Macedonia and Serbia but not with Bosnia.

Kapetanovic said that some Bosnian municipalities, potentially those run by Bosnian Croats, have said they will demolish the buildings they own in Croatia, so that Croatia can get the land below back.

Kapetanovic also spoke about the recent European Commission Progress Report for Bosnia.

“We did not achieve much progress in regard to the fight against corruption and organised crime, a little bit in regard to tackling human trafficking and very little in regard to the justice sector,” she said, adding that the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council in Bosnia has repeatedly been mentioned the EC’s reports as an institution that “truly did not do anything, except for one internal action they took last year”, and that the institution in not transparent in the way it elects judges in the country.

“I think that the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council is under the influence of politics,” she said.

Kapetanovic said Bosnia was stalling on its EU path for many years, “especially in the period between 2010 and 2014”, but that it picked up with the current government’s mandate and House of Representatives.

She named the establishment of a Coordination Mechanism between Bosnia’s two semi-autonomous entities as the issue that took the most time to fix, saying that there was a lot of obstructions coming from Republika Srpska (RS), the Serb-dominated entity.