Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlic-Radman, said on Thursday that Bosnia and Herzegovina's Euro-Atlantic integration is in the national interest of Croatia and that "it cannot be achieved without the equality of ethnic Croats in that country."
“On the international scene, Croatia is the biggest and sincere advocate of Euro-Atlantic associations. That is our clear national interest. That won’t be possible without resolving the legitimate and legal demands of ethnic Croats” in Bosnia, Grlic-Radman said at a conference in Neum, which he joined via an online message.
The fifth conference, titled “Untying Knots – Bosnia on the Path to EU and NATO Membership” was organized by Mostar University, the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts in BiH, and Croatian universities, with the participation of scientists, politicians and foreign diplomats.
Grlic-Radman explained that “the Croat side in Bosnia” has been the “most constructive” about reaching an agreement on amendments to the election law, providing proposals on how that could be done. Negotiations on election reforms are continuing in Sarajevo today with the mediation of the USA and EU.
Grlic-Radman said that Bosnia “hasn’t resolved the problem of the political disenfranchisement of Croats or stability and institutional functioning in Bosnia.” According to Grlic-Radman, the reason for that is two dominant conflicting politics in Bosnia, separatism and unitarism.
“It is difficult to say which is more detrimental to the Croat people. Both politics directly demolish the historical and constitutional foundations of Bosnia as a joint state of three equally constituent peoples and citizens. Without respect of those principles, the knot in Bosnia will not be untied for it to be a functional and stable country on the path to the EU and NATO,” added Grlic-Radman.
The president of the Croatian National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dragan Covic, said that Bosnia has to preserve its multi-national nature and that local politicians have to see the Ukraine crisis as an opportunity.
US Ambassador to Bosnia, Michael Murphy, called on political leaders in Bosnia to reach a compromise so the country can come closer to the European Union.
“A new geopolitical moment has emerged in the European Union and the Western Balkans. It’s up to leaders to use this opportunity. Bosnian leaders have the opportunity to move faster to the EU based on compromise and reconciliation,” said Murphy.