European Western Balkans

Komšić to EU officials: Croatian MEPs are undermining equality of Bosnia’s citizens

European Parliament Session; Photo: European Union

SARAJEVO – Reacting to the letter of Croatian Members of the European Parliament, in which they expressed “deep concern” over the election process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, newly-elected member of BiH’s Presidency Željko Komšić assessed that they are promoting “anticivilizational and anti-European principle of ethnic representation”.

In his own letter to EP President Antonio Tajani, European Council President Donald Tusk, President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, High Representative Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner Johannes Hahn, Komšić emphasised that his election was completely in accordance with Constitution of BiH, Electoral Laws and Conclusions of the Council of the EU.

He also accused politicians from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably those from HDZ and its sister party HDZ BiH, of trying to call his victory into question by criticizing the country’s electoral system, even though his main opponent in the elections, Dragan Čović, ran and won two times previously. “Problematization of the election has only begun when he lost the election”, Komšić wrote.

He pointed out that the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, apart from three constituent peoples, also recognizes “others and citizens of BiH”. Not recognizing the latter two categories, which Croatian delegation in the EP has done, is promoting systematic discrimination, he emphasised.

Komšić reminded that the Council of the European Union, in its two opinions from October 2017 and June 2018 “indicated that the principle of equality of all citizens and non-discrimination must be guaranteed by the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. Changing the electoral law in order to increase the influence of one ethnic group, in this case Croats, would undermine this principle, Komšić wrote.

The electoral system has not been changed ever since it was laid out in the Dayton Peace Agreement, he added. Croatia, one of the signatories of the Agreement, is trying to influence internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, “which is opposite to to international law and to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s rights as well as relations between two sovereign countries”.

“The Croatian MEPs, through political parties (especially HDZ BiH) which did not achieve the desired election result, are currently encouraging and spreading religious and national hatred”, Komšić claimed, adding that their actions are the basis for another disruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stability.

He concluded with guaranteeing a constructive partnership with EU and NATO. He committed himself to intensifying the implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and contributing to regional stability.

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