Sunday, 27 October 2019

Most of Emigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina Move to Croatia

ZAGREB, October 27, 2019 - Most of the people who have emigrated from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have moved to Croatia, the government of the Federation, the Bosniak-Croat entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said in a report.

According to the report, at least two million people originating from BiH live abroad, which is 56.5 percent of the country's estimated population of 3.53 million.

Figures for 2017 show that 394,146 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina live in Croatia, 333,687 live in Serbia, and 200,510 in Germany. The countries that follow are Austria, the United States, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden and Canada.

The government cited a World Bank report saying that 44.5 percent of people originating from BiH live outside the country. The government says that the discrepancy in figures is due to the fact that the World Bank data cover only the first generation of emigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina. This puts BiH in 16th place in the world when it comes to the emigration rate compared to the country's population.

The government also cited a 2017 report by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, showing that 20,251 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina had for the first time regulated their stay in EU countries.

The government adopted a strategy under which the institutions of the Federation of BiH were tasked with strengthening ties with the expatriate communities and including them in the social and economic development of the Federation.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Situation with Migrants Not Good for EU, Bosnia's European Prospects

ZAGREB, October 17, 2019 - Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović has said that illegal migrants attempt to enter Croatia on a daily basis but that Croatian police protect the border and are prepared for all eventualities.

Božinović made the statement on Wednesday during a visit to the eastern town of Vukovar, where he attended an event commemorating 97 police officers killed or gone missing in the defence of that town in 1991, when reporters asked him if there was a danger that the 1,500 migrants staying at the Vučjak camp in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, close to the border with Croatia, could force their way into Croatia after their water and power supply was cut off.

Suhret Fazlić, the mayor of the Bosnian town of Bihać, where the Vučjak camp is located, on Tuesday again accused Croatia of pushing back migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina or rather to Bihać. He noted that Croatia recently pushed back a group of migrants who had entered Croatia at the Bajakovo border crossing on the border with Serbia in eastern Croatia.

"I regret the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and I have personally warned my colleagues in that country that they need to step up the protection of their eastern border because, by their own admission, illegal migrants enter Bosnia and Herzegovina from the east without any problem. It is not good for Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is not good for the EU and it is also not good for Bosnia and Herzegovina's European prospects," said Božinović.

Commenting on Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava's dissatisfaction with efficiency in the prosecution of war crimes committed in that town during the 1991-95 war, Božinović said that a special working group for the investigation of war crimes was formed in February 2018 and that it had achieved significant results.

"That, of course, is not everything, and work on the identification and prosecution of perpetrators of war crimes in Vukovar will never end," the minister said, adding that this year police had uncovered 19 war crimes, including 10 in Vukovar.

More news about migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Most of Croatian Development Aid Directed at SE Europe, Bosnia

ZAGREB, October 11, 2019 - Over 80 percent of Croatia's development aid last year was directed at Southeast Europe, primarily Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Croatian parliament heard on Thursday during the presentation of the report on Croatian development aid to foreign countries in 2017 and 2018.

Croatia's official development aid amounted to 355.26 million kuna in 2017 and 452.63 million kuna in 2018, with multilateral aid accounting for 72 percent, bilateral aid for 23 percent and humanitarian aid for 5 percent, Zdravka Bušić, state secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, reported.

Two-thirds of the funds were contributed to the general EU budget for development, and of the remaining funds, the bulk was directed into Southeast Europe and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bušić said.

Of multilateral contributions, she cited 600,000 euro contributed in the last two years to the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa, and 50,000 dollars contributed in 2018 to the World Food Programme for famine relief in Yemen.

Bušić said that Croatia was currently allocating 0.1 percent of Gross National Income for aid and the target for new EU member states is 0.33 percent.

Davor Ivo Stier of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said that the bulk of development aid was directed at Bosnia and Herzegovina because the situation there had a direct impact on Croatia's national security. "This is a single geostrategic area where energy, transport and economic connections are necessary," he said.

Stier said that more should be done to help Croats living in Venezuela to return to Croatia.

Joško Klisović of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said that development aid was not a waste of money but an instrument to achieve national interests. That's why, he said, it was necessary to define more clearly which interests and goals Croatia wished to accomplish by providing development aid.

Vesna Pusić of the Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS) said that the report showed that official development aid was slowly diminishing because of the 504 projects only 12-15 concerned development aid, while the rest related to support to Croats abroad, mostly those in Southeast Europe and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"For example, 40 million kuna paid to drug wholesalers for debts, that's not development aid, but aid to the budget. It can be interpreted as aid to the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but that's not development aid," Pusić said and added that that's why GLAS would not support the report.

More news about foreign policy can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 7 October 2019

"Five Days of Sarajevo in Zagreb" Festival Starts

ZAGREB, October 7, 2019 - The eighth edition of the "Five Days of Sarajevo in Zagreb" festival will be held from October 7 to 11 featuring a series of cultural and artistic events at several venues in the Croatian capital.

The festival will be held in the Mimara Museum, Kinoteka cinema, the Napred Cultural Centre, the Bosniak ethnic community gallery and elsewhere.

The official opening will be held on October 7 at the Mimara Museum with performances by highly esteemed Bosnian guitarist Boško Jović, who will be accompanied by Ante Gelo on the guitar and Bruno Phillipp on the clarinet.

On the evening of the last day of the festival, a film directed by Martin Turk, "A Good Day's Work", will be screened in the Kinoteka cinema. The screening is adapted for people with poor vision.

Admission to almost all the events is free and details of the programme can be found at the 'Ja BiH...Pet dana Sarajeva u Zagrebu' Facebook page.

The festival is being organised by the Association for the promotion of culture and art in cooperation with the Napredak cultural society in Croatia, the Napredak Cultural Centre, the Bosniak ethnic community of Zagreb, the City of Sarajevo and the City of Zagreb authorities.

More news about festivals in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Bosnia Presidency Chair Expects Better Relations with Croatia after Presidential Vote

ZAGREB, September 26, 2019 - The Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić, expects relations between his country and Croatia to start improving after presidential elections in Croatia set for the end of the year, and he conveyed that assessment to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Komšić's office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Komšić and Guterres met in New York on the margins of the current session of the UN General Assembly and on that occasion, the chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency informed the high UN official of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and relations with neighbouring countries.

According to the statement from his office, Komšić said that in relations with Croatia he expected "the opening of a positive dialogue... after the elections to be held in that country at the end of the year."

He also said that Bosnia and Herzegovina was ready to solve outstanding issues with Croatia through dialogue, and in that context he particularly mentioned the implementation of the agreement on succession to the former Yugoslav federation and the sea border.

During his meeting with Guterres, Komšić also commented on the fact that Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović had commented on Bosnia and Herzegovina's the election law and the fact that it had not been amended despite a Constitutional Court ruling to that effect, suggesting that the Croatian president was again interfering in Bosnia and Herzegovina's internal matters.

"(Komšić) said that the Election Law should be changed in many segments but that it was exclusively an internal matter of Bosnia and Herzegovina on which a decision would be made in Bosnia and Herzegovina," according to the statement from Komšić's office.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Bosnian Court: Zdravko Mamić Can't Be Extradited to Croatia

ZAGREB, September 23, 2019 - An appeals chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has delivered a final ruling banning the extradition of former football executive Zdravko Mamić to Croatia because legal conditions for such a move have not been met, the Sarajevo-based court said on Monday.

The appeals chamber thus upheld a previous ruling of August 29.

Croatian authorities on June 11 requested Mamić's transfer so that he could continue standing trial before the Osijek County Court on charges of conspiracy and breach of trust.

In its latest ruling, the Bosnian court determined that conditions for the handover of the former Dinamo football club director had not been met considering that the crime he is charged with in Croatia is not defined as a criminal offence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mamić fled to Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose citizenship he holds along with Croatian citizenship, just a day before the Osijek court was to deliver a sentencing verdict in a case in which he was charged with siphoning money from Dinamo.

Mamić, who has been staying in Međugorje, is protected from extradition to Croatia by his Bosnian citizenship.

More news about Zdravko Mamić can be found in the Sports section.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Croatia Invests over 1 Billion Euro in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Date

ZAGREB, September 13, 2019 - Croatia has invested slightly over €1 billion in Bosnia and Herzegovina to date, which makes it the second largest investor in the country, Bosnia and Herzegovina's Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA) said in a statement on Friday, citing central bank statistics.

FIPA presented the data to the newly-appointed Ambassador to Croatia, Aleksandar Vranješ, with a view to further promoting cooperation between the two countries.

The data covers the period between May 1994 and the end of 2018, during which time Croatia invested 2.293 billion convertible marks or about 1.172 million euros.

Croatian investments account for 16 percent of total foreign investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Forty-six percent of Croatian investments were made in financial and insurance activities, 19.6 percent in the processing industry and 15.4 percent in trade.

The largest Croatian investors are the HT telecommunications company, the Agrokor food and retail conglomerate (now Fortenova), the Atlantic food and retail group, the Belupo pharmaceutical company, the Kraš confectionery company and the Dukat dairy company.

FIPA said that in cooperation with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Embassy in Croatia, further efforts would be made in promoting the Bosnian economy.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Area Along Una River Protected by law, Bosnia Puts Pressure on Croatia

ZAGREB, September 12, 2019 - The government of the Republika Srpska entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday adopted a decision proclaiming territory along the Una river as a nature park and the entity's minister of Physical Planning and Environment, Srebrenka Golić, explained that this was a measure to prevent Croatia from building a nuclear waste depot on Trgovska Gora in Dvor municipality, which is in the near vicinity of the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The entity's Una Nature Park runs adjacent to the Una National Park in the Federation entity and now the river's basin on Bosnia and Herzegovina's side is a single protected area.

"We want to send a clear message to Croatian authorities that they cannot do that (construct a nuclear waste storage plant) to a neighbouring country because in that area is both a nature and a national park. We are doing that so (Croatia) starts looking for another site that is not populated and does not jeopardise a living environment, and not on the border of a neighbouring country," Golić told reporters in Banja Luka.

Member of Parliament Saša Magazinović (Green Party) told the Fena news agency that this is necessary to put extra pressure ahead of a meeting between Croatian and Slovenian officials at the end of September to discuss the disposal of nuclear waste from the Krško nuclear power plant.

What I am afraid of, and this is mentioned in passing in some official Croatian documents, is that Trgovska Gora will not only be used to dispose of waste from Krsko but that it could turn into a depot for European nuclear waste. Some Croatian documents even note that that would be a cost-efficient project, Magazinović said.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Contracts on Financial Support to Projects for Bosnian Croats Signed

ZAGREB, September 7, 2019 - A total 89 agreements on financial support, in the amount of 26 million kuna (3.5 million euro), for projected important for the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina were signed in the village of Tolisa near the northern Bosnian town of Orašje on Friday evening.

The contracts confirm the continuity, systematic approach and consistency of Croatia's policy towards the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and good neighbourly support which Zagreb offers to Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who attended the agreement-signing ceremonies in the Franciscan Monastery, the landmark of the village of Tolisa.

We have come here with the wish to arrange our relations in a quality manner and with our wish to settle our outstanding issues, and to show through the support to the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina also our care for the rights of the Croats, he added.

Plenković recalled that earlier in the day his cabinet also approved a grant of 600,000 kuna for the Catholic school centre in Bihac.

Thanking for the support and financial assistance, the Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Ćović of the Croatian Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) said that the support had to date been given by Croatia for thousands of projects essential for the end users and institutions that had implemented them.

During his stay in Orašje, Plenković, accompanied by Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman and other officials, also met with representatives of the local authorities in Posavina Canton.

More news about Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Diaspora section.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Plenković, Čović Say EU, NATO are Bosnia's Future

ZAGREB, August 30, 2019 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Friday received Dragan Čović, deputy chair of the Bosnian parliament's House of Peoples and president of the Croatian National Assembly (HNS) and the HDZ BiH party, and they agreed that the EU and NATO were Bosnia and Herzegovina's future.

The two officials discussed the political situation in BiH and Croatia as well as future economic cooperation between the two countries, the government said in a press release.

Čović said HNS officials were strong advocates of BiH's EU and NATO accession, and that it was imperative to finish government formation in BiH at all levels as soon as possible.

Plenković said the Croatian government strongly pushed for BiH to join the EU and NATO as soon as possible as necessary for its stability, peace and economic development. He added that Croatia, as an EU and NATO member, would help BiH in the process.

He also said that in drawing up common policies in BiH, it was important to respect all the rights and interests of its three constituent peoples.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

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