Bosnia’s EU accession path requires comprehensive political and economic reforms which have been blocked by those who believe it is their undeniable right to deny genocide, BiH Parliamentary Assembly House of Peoples Speaker Bakir Izetbegovic said Friday at the 10th conference of South-East European and Visegrad Group member states’ parliament speakers in Budapest.
“The reasons that Bosnia’s European path is blocked are the blockades and crisis caused by the political forces from Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity just because they were legally banned from denying genocide and celebrating war criminals. Bosnian citizens are currently being held hostage by those who think it is their undeniable right to deny genocide and decorate convicted war criminals,” Izetbegovic warned.
He also warned of examples of discrimination in the RS entity saying that proponents of such policies are threatening the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, thus threatening peace and stability of the region.
The House of Peoples Speaker called on all EU member states to show zero-tolerance towards the creators of destructive policies and to use the mechanisms that can stop and prevent the destabilisation of the situation.
In this context, he pointed out the need to implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and eliminate discrimination in the electoral process.
“BiH is a state consisting of two entities, three peoples, but also four political groups – Bosniak, Serb, Croat and the civic group. The latter is at least twice as represented in the BiH Parliamentary Assembly and the FBiH Parliament as the Croat parties. Despite that, some want to “squeeze” this group into the Bosniak quota of 33 percent, even though Bosniak and civic parties make up 60 percent of the voting and parliamentary body,” Izetbegovic said.
The Speaker also spoke about the practice of abusing the authority of the House of Peoples, but also the dissatisfaction of ethnic Croat parties due to the manner in which representatives in government institutions are elected.
He recalled that the removal of the veto in the decision-making process and the reduction of the powers of the houses of peoples are the requirements of the European Commission and the Venice Commission.
The Conference, organized by Hungarian National Assembly Speaker Laszlo Kover, was also attended by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and European Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi. The participants of the Conference adopted a joint statement confirming the commitment to European integration, and called on EU members to accelerate the enlargement process, Izetbegovic’s Cabinet said.