The Croatian member of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament, Tonino Picula, on Wednesday dismissed claims that Croatia was interfering in Bosnia and Herzegovina's internal affairs, saying that Croatia had obligations under the Dayton peace agreement.
Speaking in an interview with the Dnevnik news website based in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar, Picula said that Croatia was being accused, almost on a daily basis, of interfering in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s internal affairs.
He recalled that Croatia was a signatory to the Dayton agreement that ended the 1992-1995 war in the country and had an obligation to ensure that the agreement was honoured.
“Unfortunately, we often see political structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina using Croatia to achieve their political points and divert attention from their own problems,” the Croatian MEP said. He, however, added that Croatian institutions and officials should exercise restraint in their communications with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“In its relationship with the Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia should maintain a positive interest with political restraint, taking care that it promotes what will encourage Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue on its EU path,” Picula said.
He said that the EU should be more dedicated to the Western Balkans and Bosnia and Herzegovina. “As the foreign policy coordinator of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament, I have continually pointed out the need for the Union and its external policy to win recognition in its nearest neighbourhood.”
Picula expressed an expectation that Bosnian politicians would agree on changes to electoral legislation that would satisfy both individual and collective rights, which is important for the country’s further journey towards EU membership. He stressed that this would include amending the Dayton agreement.
“The existing arrangements under the Dayton agreement are obviously preventing the country’s progress, but the international community will not support any solution that deviates from the principle of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single country,” the Croatian MEP said.