Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova

We want EU-BiH entry talks to be opened as soon as possible

The Croatian government wants entry talks between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina to be opened as soon as possible because it demands the equality of BiH's three peoples, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Thursday.
The granting of candidate status to BiH is our big success because we resolutely pushed for that EU decision, which was not guaranteed, and now Croatia is pushing for the next step, the opening of accession negotiations as soon as possible, the minister said in parliament, presenting a report on the implementation of the Declaration on the status of Croats in BiH in 2022.
BiH is the biggest recipient of Croatia's development aid, with the Central State Office for Croats Outside Croatia alone ensuring €4.5 million for health, education and culture projects, the minister said. However, he added, BiH is faced with numerous threats, notably Serb separatism as well as unitarism, which he defined as the outvoting of minorities.
When BiH begins the accession negotiations, it must begin to implement the acquis which envisages equality and human rights, he said. "We can't allow Croats in BiH to become a minority that will only have a culture, exhibitions and the like."
The minister said he was not satisfied with the current situation and that the government was doing all it could to make it better.
Electoral reform one of biggest challenges
Every year we see some progress, but it is achieved through quality work, Grlić Radman said. “Take Ljubuški, for example. Expats are returning to the city from Switzerland, Germany… That’s joy. That’s future,” he added.
The minister said the BiH electoral reform was one of the biggest challenges in the politically turbulent 2022.
The Croatian prime minister held a score of meetings with the legitimate political representatives of BiH's three peoples so that an agreement could be reached on the electoral reform that would allow all peoples to be legitimately represented at all government levels, he added.
Burning carnival effigy is tradition, Serbian president's reaction problematic
Grlić Radman said he had nothing to reply to a protest note sent by Serbia after an effigy of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić was set on fire during a carnival parade in Kaštel Stari.
"There's nothing to reply. This should be ignored. I'll see what the note says, but what does this note have to do with state institutions?" Grlić Radman told the press.
Grlić Radman said that was a tradition in Croatia. "It's a custom. People having fun. After the effigy is burnt, life goes on, it's a new day. I think they set me on fire too, in Trilj or in Sinj," he added, noting that he was not angry about it.
"Why the nervousness? I think this is a dud for President Vučić," the minister said, describing Vučić's reaction as unusual and problematic.
"He said a lot of things that were not alright. First of all, good neighbourly relations are achieved through dialogue, cooperation. I think Serbia has many reasons to do a little more on that front," Grlić Radman added.
Text: Hina/MVEP

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