Sunday, 20 February 2022

SDA, SDP and NS Slam HNS Conclusions, While Dodik Welcomes Them

ZAGREB, 20 Feb 2022 - Some of the political parties representing Bosniaks, and those describing themselves as civic political parties on Saturday, criticised the conclusions adopted by Bosnia and Herzegovina's Croat umbrella association (HNS BiH), while Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik welcomed the document.

During the extraordinary convention in Mostar, it was said that the Croats will launch the issue of restructuring BiH if them being outvoted at elections isn't brought to an end.

HNS BiH concluded that there are currently no legal or constitutional conditions to call an election.

Should the election be called in any case based on an unconstitutional law, HNS BiH will take all available legal and political steps to oppose the continuation of unlawful moves, the Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Čović said after the meeting.

The Bosniak SDA BiH party as well as the SDP BiH and Our Party ("Naša Stranka" that is the NS party) said on Saturday that they viewed the conclusions as blackmail and that they would not be threatened.

The NS party, along with the SDP BiH party, is boycotting the negotiations on the election legislation overhaul as long as the Bosnian Serb officials are obstructing the state institutions' work, stating that the Mostar conclusions made the things more complicated.

The Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina tripartite presidency, Milorad Dodik, who is the leader of the SNSD party, said that the problem of one people in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be viewed as the problem of all in the country.

"Ignoring the outvoting of one people (the Croats) in Bosnia and Herzegovina pushes the country into instability in a long run and the responsibility for that lies with those who turn a blind eye to the issue," said Dodik.

Talks between leading Croat and Bosniak parties regarding the electoral reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue next week, it was also said after the extraordinary convention of the Croatian National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HNS BiH) in Mostar on Saturday.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 6 September 2021

High Rep Says Croats Underrepresented in Bosnia's Institutions

ZAGREB, 6 Sept 2021 - The new High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, said on Sunday Croats were underrepresented in BiH's central institutions and that it was necessary to change the country's electoral law.

Željko Komšić is the Croat representative in the state Presidency, but he was elected more by Bosniaks than Croats, and the fact that Croat representative Dragan Čović lost to Komšić shows how complicated the system is, Schmidt said in Neustadt an der Aich, Germany at a conference on BiH's Euro-Atlantic prospects, organized by the German Atlantic Society.

Schmidt said BiH's Croat population felt underrepresented in what he said were complicated state structures.

Pointing to the need to change BiH's electoral law, he said Croats must be given the possibility to feel represented, instead of everything ending up in, for example, a form of election boycott.

The question being raised now is how to organize elections in such a way that the state does not divide into three entities, which would strongly bring into question BiH's territorial integrity, Schmidt said.

He also said that BiH's Croat population was the most affected by strong emigration and that their 15-17% share did not correspond to the reality for a long time.

Also present at the conference was Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble.

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Thursday, 22 July 2021

€3.3m Provided by Croatia for Projects of Bosnia and Herzegovina Croats in 2021

ZAGREB, 22 July 2021 - The Croatian government on Thursday endorsed a decision on the distribution of 25 million kuna of aid for projects important for the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2021.

The state-secretary of the central office for the Croats abroad, Zvonko Milas, informed the Plenković cabinet about the distribution of the funds.

An interdepartmental task force for coordination of financial support for cultural, educational, scientific, healthcare, and other programs in the interest of Bosnia and Herzegovina Croats in 2021, thus decided that HRK 25 million would be distributed to cover 79 programs and projects this year.

 A healthcare center in Kiseljak, a center for children with disabilities in Grude, the construction of a sports hall in Kupres, the reconstruction of a library in Kaonik,  the project of construction of a water supply network in Domaljevac, the reconstruction of a town hall in Odžak, the reconstruction of a culture center in Stolac, and the film festival "Ivo Gregurović" in Orašje are some of the projects which would be co-funded by the Croatian government.

This year's allocation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatas' programs is by 3.5 million kuna higher than last year.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Saturday, 10 July 2021

Milanović: No Concessions Concerning Bosnia Croat Rights As Long as I’m President

ZAGREB, 10 July, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović has said that during his presidential term, Croatia will make no longer any concessions when it comes to the rights of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Milanović said in an interview, published by the Bosnia and Herzegovina edition of the Večernji List on Saturday ahead of his visit to several BiH cities and towns mainly populated by local Croats, that during the recent adoption of the NATO summit meeting's final communique, he had insisted that the document should make mention of the Dayton Peace Accords which include guarantees for the respect for treating the Croats as one of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for making sure that this aspirant could continue its journey towards the European Union.

"In terms of the size, the Croats are today the least numerous people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, this does not mean that Croats should be treated as a minority and they will never been reduced to a (ethnic) minority," Milanović said.

"It would be in the interest of everyone to make sure that the Dayton agreement is respected, and compliance with the agreement can help Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a law-based state that can continue travelling towards the EU. Croatia strongly supports those efforts and would like to see Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the EU," Milanović said in the interview, adding that he was important that Croatia's Prime Minister and foreign policy-makers joined him in this tough stance.

"As long as I am the president, Croatia will make no concessions and will not stop halfway or join the stronger ones."

Milanović recalled that the document adopted at the end of the NATO summit meeting also pointed out the need for amending Bosnia and Herzegovina's election legislation, and he explained that the amendments should result in ensuring the legitimate political representativeness.

The right to elect your representative is a pillar of every democracy and such case should be also in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I can't see who would oppose the rights of Croats to have their representatives, he elaborated.

In this context he reiterated his criticism of the current practice which has led to the situation that the Croats do not have their legitimate representative in the country's three-member presidency.

He recalls that it is the constitutional obligation of the President of the Republic of Croatia to care for the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"It is unacceptable to have Bosnia and Herzegovina as an area for the implementation of somebody's experiment particularly detrimental to the local Croats," he underscored.

Milanović will visit Vitez, Mostar, Ljubuški, Livno and Tomislavgrad on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

This is his first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in his capacity os the Croatian head of state.

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Saturday, 19 June 2021

Milanović Calls for Unity on Status of Bosnia Croats

ZAGREB, 19 June 2021 - The Croatian Heritage Foundation marked its 70th anniversary at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb on Friday, with President Zoran Milanović calling for unity on the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In his address, the president called for unity on key matters, saying that today one of them, to a certain extent, was the status of Croats in BiH.

"Their homeland is BiH as it was designed 26 years ago by an international agreement which was signed by Croatia and which it will honor in good faith."

Milanović said there was a big chance to position Croatia among the most advanced states in Europe, "there where it never was but where it belongs."

He said the Croatian nation had been a dream whose realization depended on "a few goods, right people" who gathered around that idea at a certain moment in history.

The Croatian Heritage Foundation is an institution representing a "firm and safe bridge to the homeland" for about 3.5 million Croats and their descendants around the world, it was said at the event.

The deputy speaker of the BiH Parliament's House of Peoples, Dragan Čović, thanked Milanović for "speaking very loudly these days about the role of the Croat people in BiH."

"We are proud to have Croatia as our homeland, but we won't renounce BiH as our homeland either. There's 15% of us in BiH, but as the least numerous, we are the most industrious. We are the leaders of all positive integration processes in BiH," Čović said.

He thanked Croatia's officials for encouraging Croats in BiH to preserve their equality as a constituent people and ensure legitimate representation at all government levels.

The Croatian prime minister's envoy, Zvonko Milas, underlined the importance of focusing on the young as a guarantee of the survival of the relationship between Croats in Croatia and abroad.

The Croatian parliament speaker's envoy, Zdravka Bušić, said the communist authorities had declared the Croatian Heritage Foundation a hotbed of nationalism for connecting Croats in Croatia and abroad and eliminated its leaders from the Croatian people's political and public spheres in Croatia and abroad.

"Today the Foundation realizes about 60 programs and events, connecting 45 countries on all continents where Croats and citizens of Croatian descent live in larger numbers," its director Mijo Marić said, calling on young people of Croatian descent from around the world to attend the Foundation's Croatian language, history, culture and folklore seminars this summer.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.