Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Croatian President Rules Out Possibility of Armed Conflicts in BiH

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday there was a risk of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina deteriorating and that his intention is to prevent that and help find "a framework for coexistence of the three constituent peoples in BiH", however, he ruled out the possibility of an armed conflict.

"Anyone starting talk of a war erupting in BiH should get their mouth taped," said Milanović adding that speculations like that amount to war-mongering propaganda.

"Who will attack whom in BiH? Perhaps, Serbs with their three armored vehicles?," Milanović wondered in an ironic comment, insisting that not enough weapons existed for anyone to spark an armed conflict.

He announced a phone call to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for Tuesday afternoon so as to inform him of what is going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Last week, the Croatian president sent a letter about this issue to Stoltenberg.

Milanović said that "when it comes to knowing about the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, international leaders are not updated," accusing Croatia's diplomats of that.

Milanović accused Prime Minister Andrej Plenković of boycotting his proposal to hold a session of the National Security Council to discuss the state of affairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He also criticized Plenković over a lack of a joint position on the issue, and again ruled out that "there was anything personal in that conflict."

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Economy Minister: Croatia Wants Stability and Progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina

ZAGREB, 11 May 2022 - Croatian Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović said in Sarajevo on Wednesday that Bosnia and Herzegovina had been and remained an important neighbour and partner to Croatia and that it was necessary to strengthen cooperation and support the stability of that country.

Filipović was attending the 11th Sarajevo Business Forum and in his welcome speech he underscored that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's government was taking the challenges of economic recovery and progress seriously and was committed to them despite the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic and now the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

He said that the economic progress and recovery of the entire Western Balkans were important to Croatia, as the area is its immediate neighbourhood, which should and must have a clear perspective of membership of the European Union.

Therefore, he said, Croatia will always be ready to offer its knowledge and experience necessary for the implementation of reforms important for European integration, and this is especially true for Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Croats are one of the three constituent peoples.

Croatia is strongly committed to the stability and security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration, said Filipović, adding that there were numerous opportunities for economic cooperation between the two countries.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 22 April 2022

Seven Euro Croatia Entry Fee When Crossing Croatian-BiH Border in 2023

April the 22nd, 2022 - With Croatian Schengen entry looming and changes at the nation's border crossings being mulled, we also need to look at what the new ETIAS system will mean for quick trips in and out of Croatia will mean for residents of neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as for other neighbouring non-EEA countries, such as Montenegro and Serbia. Seven euros will need to be paid by citizens and residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina when entering Croatia across the Croatian-BiH border as of 2023.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, due to the upcoming introduction of the ETIAS system, an electronic application will have to be submitted for each entry into the European Union (EU), and while the process usually takes a few minutes, it can, in very rare cases, take thirty days. This new rule will also apply to the citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. But there are exceptions.

BiH citizens and residents could soon pay for each and every entry they make into the European Union, including the Republic of Croatia.

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) system should be launched next year, which will mean new rules for entering Croatia. Before travelling to the EU, and as such neighbouring Croatia, BiH residents and citizens will have to fill out an electronic form and pay a one-time fee of seven euros before crossing the Croatian-BiH border, RTL reports.

The official EU website in Bosnia and Herzegovina states that residents and citizens of that country will have to fill in an online application form via the appropriate website or via the mobile application. If the person is unable to apply (due to theur age, literacy level, computer literacy or a lack of access to the required device), the application can be submitted by a third party. All applicants between the ages of 18 and 70 will have to pay an electronic fee of seven euros per application. Each positive application will be valid for three years, or until the travel document being used expires, whichever comes first.

A travel authorisation without which it will not be possible to cross the Croatian-BiH border in most cases will be issued within mere minutes of the application being submitted, and rarely, due to the additional verification of permits, a person may have to wait up to 30 days, but this will likely barely ever be the case.

The applicant may also appeal if they receive a rejection to their request to cross the Croatian-BiH border.

ETIAS was created following a November 2016 proposal for the establishment of a European travel information and authorisation system to strengthen security controls for visa-free travellers to the EU, which currently applies to citizens of more than 60 countries.

However, Croats living in BiH and holding Croatian citizenship, and those who have registered, legal residence in Croatia, will not have to pay to enter the country, while other citizens without any of the above will have to. Of course, entry into Croatia will also have to be paid for by the citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.

It's important to note that British citizens, who were until recently EU citizens, will also have to pay to enter Croatia.

Those who have legal residence in Croatia under the Withdrawal Agreement (which means they are still treated as EU citizens as they exercised their right to free movement under the EU laws which once applied to them), will also not be subjected to ETIAS as long as they proactively show their residence/ID cards along with their valid passports when entering Croatia. This is especially the case for permanent residents.

For more, make sure to check out our travel section.

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Dodik says Dubrovnik's Concern About Trebinje Airport Project Should be Ignored

ZAGREB, 3 April 2022 - The Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's state presidency, Milorad Dodik, said on Sunday he did not care what the local government in Dubrovnik thought about the construction of an airport at Trebinje, adding that no attention should be paid to that.

Commenting on the letter which Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković had addressed to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zoran Telgetija, asking for suspension of all plans to build the Trebinje airport before assessing the environmental impact of the project, Dodik told the press in Banja Luka that the mayor of Dubrovnik should simply be ignored.

"It's as if someone from Rudo (a small town in eastern Bosnia) wrote a letter to US President Joe Biden," Dodik said.

He said he did not know why the letter was being given attention at all when the only interlocutor to the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the Croatian government and not the Dubrovnik city administration.

In his letter, Franković reminded Telgetija that the airport would be built in highly porous karst terrain only eight kilometres from the source of the River Ombla, which supplies Dubrovnik with drinking water.

Trebinje, a town of barely 30,000 inhabitants, is about 50 kilometres away from the airports at Mostar, Dubrovnik and Tivat.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Negotiations on Bosnia Electoral Law Amendment Fail

ZAGREB, 20 March 2022 - The latest round of the negotiations on amending Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral law, which was held in Sarajevo on Sunday, ended inconclusively, with Bosnia Croat leader Dragan Čović saying that "there are absolutely no conditions" for holding general elections in October.

Čović also accused the Bosniak leader Bakir Izetbegović (of the SDA BiH party) of the failure.

Most of the participants in the negotiations which were held today under the mediation of managing director at the EU's External Action Service, Angelina Eichhorst and US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Michael Murphy, who confirmed that the round of the talks failed.

Čović said that there were no prerequisites for the general elections to be held in October, as previously planned.

"Since the very start, the SDA party has been in favour of keeping a status quo and no deal on the legislation's amendment", said Čović, adding that the behaviour of that party is "a brutal blow to the state".

"Five of the six parties participating in the negotiations actually accepted the solutions proposed by the international community, and the HDZ BiH was ready to accept all the options that would avoid the blockade of the authorities in the Croat-Bosniak Federation and appointment of office-holders", said Čović, who is at the helm of the HDZ BiH.

The SDA leader Izetbegović shunned the press.

On the other hand, the leader of the People and Justice party (NiP), Elmedin Konaković, addressed the press to inform the public that the negotiations had failed.

"The reform of the constitution or electoral law stands no chances any longer", he said, adding that it was pity that a document that could serve as a good basis for the model of the election of Bosnia and Herzegovina's presidency was discarded. Konaković said that the model had ensured all the rights to the Croats, as one of the three constituent peoples, and had also lifted restrictions for others, while the ethnic denominators would have been erased in the process of the election of the deputies in the upper house (the House of Peoples) of the state parliament.

Konaković and the SBB party leader Fahrudin Radončić agreed that such outcome of the negotiations would give the Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik a reason to gloat as the failed negotiations meant the continuation of the blockade of the state.

Eichhorst: Good set of reforms was at table

The EU mediator told the press that the negotiations had lasted nine months and eventually, a good set of draft reforms had been put on the table and that this package would have accelerated Bosnia's journey towards the European Union membership.

According to her, the stumbling block was the failure of the SDA and HDZ parties to reach agreement on the model of the election and the constitution of the House of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Eichorst said that the parties did not agree which was a missed opportunity.

The US ambassador Murphy called on political leaders to continue searching for compromises and that the international community was willing to offer assistance. Murphy said that it was not wise to boycott the coming elections.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

PM Says Croatia Will Not Erect Fence on Border With BiH After Schengen Area Entry

ZAGREB, 18 Dec, 2021 - Once it enters the Schengen area of passport-free travel, Croatia will not erect a fence on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in an interview with the Večernji List daily Saturday issue.

Commenting on his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina earlier this week, Plenković said that Croatia supports BiH's sovereignty and integrity as well as its spirit as agreed in Dayton - one state, two entities and three equal constituent peoples, noting that Croatia will not allow the inequality of Croats in relation to the other two constituent peoples.

"My position is clear and I reiterated it once again in Sarajevo and Mostar - Croatia will not erect a fence or a wall on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. That border connects us and that will remain so after Croatia's accession to the Schengen area. But that makes cooperation between our police forces and other relevant services extremely important, so that we can prevent illegal migrations," he said.

Schengen entry is not only a major privilege, it is also a major obligation for Croatia. Our state border with BiH, Serbia and Montenegro will become the external Schengen border and that is why effective, responsible and thorough control of the border will be a permanent task of the Croatian border police, Plenković said.

He added that agreement was reached during his visit to Sarajevo on the continuation of talks on a possible change of the categories of individual border crossings and on facilitating the flow of people and goods in line with EU regulations.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

President Zoran Milanović and Izetbegović Discuss Relationship Between Croatia and Bosnia

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović spoke with the leader of the Democratic Action Party (SDA) of Bosnia andHerzegovina, Bakir Izetbegović, on Tuesday about the relationship between the Bosniaks and Croats, the President's Office said in a press release.

They discussed the relationship between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably the relationship between the Bosniaks and Croats and the need to improve it in accordance with the Dayton agreement, the press release said.

Izetbegović also serves as Chairman of the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Says Bosniak Minority Precious to Croatia

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - The Bosniak minority is "a precious value" to Croatia, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Zagreb on Tuesday at an event marking the 28th Day of Bosniaks in Croatia and wished the community to successfully preserve its identity.

In a multiethnic nation, it is good when everyone feels comfortable and respects each other, the minister said. The Bosniak minority is well-integrated, it is a "precious value" to Croatia, he said.

Following statements by previous speakers that "loyalty" was not an expression that reflected the emotional attitude of Bosniaks because "they love Croatia", he recalled their contribution to the Homeland War.

About 25,000 Bosniaks took part in the Homeland War, and 1,187 laid down their lives for Croatia.

Grlić Radman also talked about Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose territorial integrity Zagreb strongly supports.

"No one has it in their interest for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a stable and functioning state as much as the Republic of Croatia," he said.

He said that Croatia had achieved its goals of integration with NATO and the European Union and that it wanted the same path for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He also commented on the dissatisfaction with the violation of equality and constituency of Bosnian Croats.

"Reforms from 2000 onwards and changes to the election law mainly through interventions by the High Representative have enabled Bosniaks to outvote Croats, who don't have a legitimate representative in the three-member presidency. We should strive for changes in the election law that will enable equality and constituency and eliminate any forms of discrimination," he said.

He expressed hope that leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina would find a solution, and the new High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt would first and foremost talk and listen, and not impose solutions.

Grlić Radman wished the Bosniaks in Croatia to be successful in preserving their cultural Bosniak identity.

The Day of Bosniaks is observed in memory of the first meeting of the Bosniak Assembly, held on 27 and 27 September 1993, at which Muslims changed their name to Bosniaks and the name Bosnian language was advocated.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Milanović Says is Also President of BiH Citizens With Croatian Citizenship

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said in New York on Tuesday that he was also the president of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the Croatian nationality who have Croatian citizenship, and this statement was questioned on Wednesday by some media outlets in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Some media outlets in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as Oslobođenje daily newspaper or BiH's N1 broadcaster reported today that Milanović had said he was "the president of Croats in BiH".

They left out part of the statement in which Milanović said that Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, just like Croats in New York, had Croatian citizenship and the right to vote in the election and that it was "a formal and legal fact that he is also their president".

He stressed that this was with "full respect for the countries" in which they live.

The statement was made in response to a reporter's question asking him to comment on the situation when Željko Komšić, the current chairman of the BiH tripartite Presidency who sits in the presidency as the Croat member, came to the UN General Assembly.

"Komšić came here as one of the Presidency members, I don't know... on whose behalf he's speaking, even if he was the representative of Croats because... I said I was the president of Croatia, the president of Croatian citizens, Croats and, in a way, of those Croats living in Bosnia and Herzegovina," as stipulated by the Constitution, said Milanović.

He added that he had often raised the issue of the voting right of Croatian citizens outside Croatia, in a bid to reduce it to a reasonable level, and his argument for that had been also not to undermine the neighbouring country where the polling stations for Croatian elections were also set up.

Earlier, Milanović also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

I have been telling Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan all this time that there is absolutely no one in Croatia who would talk about secession, which is something we can hear from some other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that isn't smart, it isn't necessary, Milanović said.

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

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

FM Grlić Radman Discusses Situation in Bosnia With Čović and Zovko

ZAGREB, 8 Sept, 2021 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, on Wednesday discussed the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the leader of the HDZ BiH party, Dragan Čović, and the vice-chair of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Željana Zovko, the ministry said in a statement.

The meeting focused on the reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral legislation "to ensure the quality and legitimate political representation of the Croats", the steps that need to be taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path towards European Union membership and how Croatia can help it in that regard.

Čović spoke of the current political situation and ethnic relations in his country and challenges to the achievement of legitimate rights for the Croats, while Zovko presented the European Parliament's activities concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of southeast Europe.

Grlić Radman reiterated that Bosnia and Herzegovina has the support of Croatia and his ministry in political demands for the legitimate representation of the Croats "so that Bosnia and Herzegovina would be functioning, stable and prosperous and would achieve its Euroatlantic ambitions more easily."

They all agreed that amendments to the election law would contribute to the stability and functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina and increase trust between the three constituent peoples and all other citizens in the country, the statement said.

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

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