The head of Croatia’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly tried to condition Bosnia’s NATO accession with the change of Bosnia’s Election Law, said head of Bosnia’s joint commission for defence and security, Sifet Podzic, adding that Croatia’s attitude towards Bosnia is “contradicting.”
After the Republika Srpska (RS) entity's 2017 decision to proclaim military neutrality, hampering Sarajevo’s ambitions to join the Alliance, a new stumbling block emerged with the nationalist Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) conditioning Bosnia's NATO accession with their own political goals, Podzic said.
“Unfortunately they (HDZ BiH) are using their sister party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which is in power in Croatia, and their MPs for these goals,” Podzic said. “As you could see, Miroslav Tudjman, the son of the former Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, who is the head of Croatia’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said they would condition Bosnia’s NATO accession with changes to Bosnia’s election law.”
Croatia received the invitation to join the Alliance in 2008, and it became a NATO member in 2009.
Earlier this week, Croatian media reported that Miroslav Tudjman spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the main topics of their discussion were the equality of peoples in Bosnia and changes to Bosnia’s election law. Croatian officials have been very active after the October general election in Bosnia in speaking to western officials about the rights of Bosnian Croats living in the other Bosnian entity – the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH).
They claim that Bosniaks living in the FBiH outvote the Croats and make decisions on their behalf. One such example is the election of the Croat member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency who defeated his main rival, the HDZ BiH's Dragan Covic, because although both are ethnic Croats, Komsic ran on a multi-ethnic centrist platform, whereas Covic is a nationalist platform.
The head of Bosnia’s defence commission noted that Croatia’s attitude towards Bosnia is contradicting since they keep saying that they the best advocate for Bosnia's EU and NATO accession, “but then they do everything to prevent that.”
Podzic added that NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP) requires the registration of all the military property at the state level, which is something Bosnia has not done yet because the RS refuses to register many military facilities existing on the territory of this entity, to the state level.
The RS is not the only one refusing to hand over such property since the FBiH also has a number of barracks and other facilities used by lower levels of government which are also not registered as state property despite the rulings by the State Constitutional Court for both entities to do so.
“These conditions are not something the Alliance will give up on,” he said.