[JUTARNJI LIST] Merkel not satisfied with the policy of Croatia and BiH Croats, but supports constitutivity
FUTURE STRUCTURE OF BIH: EU strongly supports the current Dayton structure; the third entity is not an option
The Germans want to finally see a state with a functional structure, but did they actually forget how important the notion of a nation is in the Balkans?
By Snježana Pavić
“Is Germany supportive of the civil Bosnia and Herzegovina and of dismantling the rights of the three constitutive nations? The Germans want to finally see a state with a functional structure, but did they actually forget how important the notion of a nation is in the Balkans? We should clearly differentiate between the official position of the German Government and individual opinions of some diplomats.” – says Željana Zovko, a Croatian member of the European Parliament.
“Some German politicians may perhaps not understand the concept of national rights, supporting the civil state in a wish to streamline the system. However, they have no idea of the consequences such a model may have for Bosnia and Herzegovina. As opposed to them, the European People’s Party, a member of which I am, and the German CDU/CSU have a full understanding for a necessity to protect the nation, national identity and culture.“ – says the HDZ member of the EP from Mostar.
“I would never attribute such a policy to the German Chancellor Merkel.”- adds Zovko.
A STRONG MESSAGE. But Angela Merkel’s Demo-Christians (CDU, always in a coalition with the Bavarian Christians from CSU) are in a coalition with Social-Democrats (SPD) who have an entirely different view of how the BiH structure should look like. “It is a high time for BiH to get rid of its long-term dysfunctionality and national homogenous ghettoization, which still praise the promotors and participants of the ethnic cleansing, where concerts are organised to glorify those who were killing others, where buildings are painted with murals of war criminals.“ – said the SPD member Josip Juratović to Sarajevo Vijesti.ba. Juratović showed that such an idea was appealing to him (“not all Croats are living in the Herzegovinian canton“), but he did not confirm that it was an official proposal of the German Government or SPD.
“At the moment we do not have a single strong evidence that the Germans changed their policy towards BiH.” – says the Chairman of the EP Delegation for Relations with BiH and Kosovo, Tonino Picula.
“Even if officially proposed, the realisation of such an idea would be very much questionable, because every modification of the BiH structure requires a strong consensus of international and local stakeholders.” – as of Picula. That is the main reason why nothing has changed in the internal structure of BiH ever since 1995, when the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed, notwithstanding numerous proofs that the structure composed of two entities and three constitutive nations is too huge and dysfunctional. The international scene has changed in the meantime. No one is now as powerful as the Clinton’s America was in 1995, when it stopped the war in BiH. Considering the existing conflicted interests, a general consensus for the reform of the country’s internal organisation is hardly possible.
Asked to comment on the unofficial news about the change of the German policy, Picula replied that rumours about the South-Eastern Europe are often to be heard, but usually turn up to be untrue, such as rumours about the customs union. “However, perhaps mentioning of those ideas is a sign that the EU should change its so-far policy towards BiH.” – says Picula.
ROLE OF TURKEY. Four years ago, Germany and the Great Britain came up with a new approach to BiH in a wish to put an end to stagnation in the country since 2006 when the last attempt of the three parties to agree on the constitutional changes failed. The main goal was to put aside the changes to the Constitution, when it was not possible to reach a consensus and to enhance the economic processes and reforms instead.
According to Picula, every modification of the internal organisation of BiH requires a strong consensus of international and local stakeholders.
A consensus on a civil state of BiH is hard to imagine. This idea is rejected internally in BiH as unrealistic.
A former diplomat in Germany and professor of political science at the University of Mostar says that media are mentioning the invented plan of Merkel and Erdogan to restructure BiH into a civil state according to the principle one man-one vote. However, such a plan doesn’t exist, not because Turkey would not like it, but because Germany is well aware that it is a mission impossible and the very last thing BiH needs. – says Lasić.
A GHOST OF HERZEG-BOSNIA. Instead of that, Berlin has been seriously working on the Berlin Plus process for the Western Balkans countries, envisaging support to infrastructural connections worth billions EUR. However, it is true that the German Government does not like the policy of the Republic of Croatia towards BiH and the radical position of Croats in BiH. – says Srećko Latal, the BIRN Director. HDZ BiH has been supporting the idea of the third entity last year or two years and Croatia is seen as a supporter of that idea.
“The Croatian policy seems to have lost a detailed understanding of the situation in BiH. They believe that the third entity is the easiest solution for BiH, but it is not.- as of Latal.
Tonino Picula warns that Croatia must take care of how others perceive its engagement around BiH and must be careful not to raise doubts about its role in BiH. As a member of the EU and NATO, Croatia must search allies for its policy instead of isolating itself. – says the Member of the EP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs.