[ Večernji list ] Željana Zovko: Dysfunctional BiH is an issue discussed at the top levels in the EU
The BiH Croats have their voice in the European Parliament – Željana Zovko, who through the EP Group of the European People’s Party, to which HDZ Croatia belongs, advocates the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the issue of the BiH Croats and many other issues of importance for BiH and its progress. In the interview to Večernji list the MEP Zovko talks about the unity of the Croats in BiH, views of the European Parliament on BiH, the future of the country and other relevant issues.
VL: We have witnessed numerous attempts of depriving the Croats in BiH of power and of totally dividing them. However, all those attempts have been frustrated and proved to be a mission impossible. The last proof came from the last weekend’s meeting of the Croatian National Assembly, at which fourteen political parties confirmed that the Croats in BIH were united. How do you view the unity of the BiH Croats from the EU point of view and from the point of view of your homeland, BiH?
ŽZ: The BiH Croats are united and in total agreement on the same mission – to reiterate the position of Croats both internationally and in BiH. The Croat unity is a proof that all Croat entities in BiH aspire to the very same goal – to put an end to the torture they have been through in last twenty years and to finally resolve the issue of equality. Throughout the history, Croats have always firmly demonstrated their unity in the most difficult times. The comprehensive Declaration, adopted in the last meeting of the Croatian National Assembly, is another sign of all-Croat unity in another difficult historical moment. The power produced by the unity, as well as the messages conveyed to the entire world are extremely important – BiH must be a stable country progressing on its path to the European Union, whereby the Croats must not be an exclusive factor, but they must be a factor supporting BiH on its path to the European integration. Croats may continue leading their homeland to the EU, but providing their equal status with other nations is recognised, what certainly has not been a case so far.
VL: You and other Croatian MEPs have been focusing on the issue of BIH, importance of peace and stability and a better functioning of the country, as well as on the problem of unequal position of BiH Croats compared to other two constituent nations and the fact that the Croats have been deprived of the right to elect their legitimate representatives and to fight for some other issues. What do they think about the situation in BiH?
ŽZ: Believe me, the international public becomes upset only with conflicts and the scenes seen for instance from Venezuela last days. BiH is under semi-protectorate and the international institutions, which were supposed to resolve the problems in BiH long ago, but have done nothing, have been continuously provided support. I and my colleagues, the Croatian MEPs, have raised the issue of accountability – why BiH, the country for which its peoples and citizens and all the parties who signed the Dayton Peace Agreement are responsible, has not managed to find a mid-way? This issue is a matter of discussion at the top level now.
VL: BiH is faced with tensions all the time. What do you think how long BiH is sustainable with the current structure and what should be changed?
ŽZ: We are all very well aware that BiH must be sustainable. It must be a common country of all its peoples. There is no question about it and there must be no conflict about it. However, the current way of functioning of the country and the actual situation raises many issues. If there are no people in the country, what is the purpose of the country? At the time being, BiH is a very fragile country, vulnerable to all complex situations and difficulties, such as migrants’ waves, instabilities, impact of the third countries who do not act in the interest of this country. Therefore, and for the sake of peace and stability, the peoples of BiH must come to an agreement on in what kind of a country they want to live. That country must be tailored to the needs of all its peoples and citizens. In that country no one must feel as a foreign, less valued or a citizen of second rank. Only such a country may show its full potential. That is what I have been promoting all the time. BiH should take the structure of Switzerland or Belgium as a role model, because they proved to be entirely functionable.
VL: What is your message from the European perspective for the BiH Croats and for everyone else in BiH?
ŽZ: It is not possible any more that someone deprives someone else of their rights. Gone are the times of dictatorships. Not a single dictatorship was permanent. All nations went through a difficult period in their history. Now we have the European peace project, where Croatia has the most important role, because next year it will take over the chairmanship of the European Union. Therefore, I believe that BiH will soon find its way.
Source:Željko Andrijanić, Večernji list