EU should stand in solidarity with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ethnic Croats

24-Oct-2017 @ 16:15

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EU should stand in solidarity with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ethnic Croats

Electoral law in Bosnia and Herzegovina disadvantages Croats and undermines the functioning of the country as a federal entity, Conservative Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Tannock said today.

Dr Tannock and fellow European Conservatives and Reformists Group MEP Ruža Tomašić called for the European Union to support efforts to amend the electoral law in line with a ruling of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Constitutional Court, which states that elements of the law do not fully respect the principles of proportionality and legitimate representation.

Changes to law essential to ensure representative elections

Dr Tannock and Mrs Tomašić highlighted the potential for discrimination and marginalisation of the country’s Croat community.

Speaking after the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee staged an exchange of views with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s presidency chairman Dragan Cović, Dr Tannock said: “President Cović has made strenuous efforts to bring the law into line with the constitution but these efforts have so far been frustrated by opposition to change.

“The law must be amended and approved before the end of 2017, otherwise the legitimacy of the elections scheduled for October 2018 can be questioned.

“Without functioning institutions, the country remains fragile and at risk of paralysis. Turkey and Russia are meddling in its internal affairs, undermining its integrity and European accession pathway

“The growing threat of jihadists radicalisation, fuelled by external influences and a sense of stalemate, is aggravating matters.

“The Dayton Peace Accords managed to stop hostilities, but haven’t delivered as had been hoped on building a modern functioning federal state New thinking on Dayton means being prepared to re-examine its weaknesses and find new ways by making necessary changes to make Bosnia and Herzegovina prosperous state.

Ms Tomasic said: “The current law enables Bosniaks to elect Croat representatives, which is unacceptable and defies the constituent people’s principle of the federal state.

“The rule of law has serious challenges and concerted effort must now be made to bring the country into line with EU standards and avoid political bickering over this objective

“The sense of discrimination that the Croatian community in Bosnia and Herzegovina faces is forcing many young Croats to leave, further weakening the size of the Croat minority.

“The EU should stand in solidarity to reassure them that it supports the rule of law and full representation of the Croat people.

“Bosnia Herzegovina will only move forward if all its constituent peoples are equal in practice as well as in theory.”


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