If Ukraine is given EU candidate status, the Croatian government should categorically make it conditional on granting Bosnia and Herzegovina that status on the same day, President Zoran Milanovic said in Ohrid on Friday.
The heads of state or government of France, Germany and Italy met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Thursday to convey their support to Ukraine’s plan to be given the status of candidate for the European Union.
“If Ukraine can get candidate status in the state it is currently in and from which I hope it gets out of as soon as possible, in its entirety if possible, then the starting point of Croatia’s foreign policy, national policy, security policy should be that Bosnia and Herzegovina is given candidate status too,” said Milanovic.
He underscored that he is not opposed to Ukraine’s candidate status.
“But Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a better state in terms of security and every other sense than Ukraine, and there is no reason, neither economic nor security nor humane, for Bosnia and Herzegovina not to be given that status if Ukraine gets it,” he said.
“I expect that the government and its representatives, when it comes to granting candidate status to Ukraine, categorically condition that so that Bosnia gets it too,” he said.
Milanovic is taking part in the Prespa Forum in Ohrid where he met with his North Macedonian counterpart Stevo Pendarovski on Friday.
North Macedonia has had candidate status for a long time, but the start of negotiations is being blocked by Bulgaria. Milanovic is opposed to the blockade and has repeatedly publicly criticised Sofia for that.
“Candidate status is a form of hope. North Macedonia has been living with that hope for too long. I am surprised that they have not lost it and there is a danger that the people will turn away from it and realize that they have been played,” he said.
“It is up to the Bulgarians to see where this is leading and for these negotiations to start,” he concluded.