An HDZ push is intended to expand Croatia’s power in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Such nationalistic plans contradict EU law.
SARAJEVO taz | Croatia’s Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman is constantly working to expand Croatian influence in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Radman recently declared in Brussels that Croatia wanted to help its neighboring country to become a functioning country. But his “Zagreb Non-Paper”, which he presented there a week ago, turns out to be a sham that would rather help to further destabilize the country.
The Croat wants to enforce an electoral law in Bosnia-Herzegovina that is supposed to expand the influence of the Croatian nationalist party HDZ BiH there. The party considers it unfair that the Croatian member of the three-person state presidency of the entire state can be elected by all citizens of the republic, not just Croatians. Two years ago, Ivo Komšić, a Croat, was elected to the state presidency, but he belongs to a social liberal party and not to the HDZ.
In addition, the Croatian nationalists want to change the electoral law in relation to the Second Chamber of Parliament, the Chamber of Nations, so that they would gain a right of veto. The Chamber of Nations can overturn laws passed by parliament.
A ruling by the Strasbourg Human Rights Court in 2009 speaks against this. At that time, the chairmen of the Jewish community and the Roma minority sued and won the case against discrimination against citizens who do not belong to the three “constitutive nations” of the Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks. Because according to the constitution, people from these groups and those who do not want to define themselves nationally have no right to be elected to the highest state offices.
Equal treatment instead of separation
The ruling demands equal treatment of all citizens in Bosnia-Herzegovina – and thus the opposite of what the nationalists want: the further separation of the population groups. For example, HDZ boss Dragan Čović calls for the establishment of a nationally defined “Croatian entity” (Herceg-Bosna).
This contradicts European law, which is a prerequisite for EU membership. In response to a request from Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen in the Bundestag, the Foreign Office in Berlin recently stated that constitutional reform had to be implemented in Bosnia.
Croatia’s foreign minister sought support from EU countries where ethnic-nationalist ideologies are also present. Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Greece and Cyprus have signed the “Zagreb Non-Paper”.