Croatia strongly supports Bosnia's European path, FM says

NEWS 18.08.2020 17:16
Source: N1

Croatia and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) strongly support Bosnia and Herzegovina's European path and insist on amending the election law so that Croats in that country can be equal, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman said in Bosnian southern city Mostar on Tuesday, on the 30th anniversary of the founding of HDZ BiH, HDZ's sister party in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Grlic-Radman attended the ceremony as an envoy for HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic, and he along with an HDZ BiH delegation led by party leader Dragan Covic laid wreaths and lit candles in memory of Croatian veterans in Mostar's central square as well as attending the party's celebrations.

“Croatia strongly advocates Bosnia and Herzegovina's European path and I think that we can help them a lot on that path with our experience and expertise. I can proudly stress that as a sister party we share the same European values and advocate Bosnia and Herzegovina's European path and (integration ) in transatlantic organisations,” Grlic-Radman told reporters.

He assessed that amendments to the election law, which is one of the conditions which Bosnia is supposed to meet to be given candidate status for accession to the EU, need to ensure equal legal rights for Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

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“The status of the Croatian people is guaranteed by the Dayton Peace Accord and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Constitution. The Croat people are a constitutive people along with the two other peoples and Croatia supports the equal legal rights of Croats at all levels of government. The Croat people, as the least numerous people, deserves to exercise those rights through amendments to the election law, which belong to them pursuant to the Dayton Peace Accord and the constitution,” he underscored.

Covic said that he expects an agreement to be reached with the leading Bosniak party – Democratic Action Party (SDA) on amendments to the election law before the end of the year which the two parties undertook to do by signing the Mostar agreement in mid-June.

“Our ambition this year, based on the agreement we signed with SDA, is to amend the election law so that we can ensure the legitimacy of political representation of the constitutive peoples at all administrative levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That primarily refers to the House of Peoples and the (tripartite) Presidency,” Covic explained.

He added that the solution to amendments to the election law has to take into account the decisions by the Constitutional Court and European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The essence of the Croats’ demands, he explained, is that Croats be guaranteed the right to elect nationally defined representatives in government without being outvoted by the other two peoples.