Zovko: “EU funds to be directed to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina instead of to international administration”
Member of the European Parliament Željana Zovko welcomes the decision of the European Union to reduce the funds allocated to the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and to allocate more funds to the country’s institutions instead. As explained by the Commissioner Hahn a couple of days ago, the European Union reduced the budget allocated to the OHR by 5% compared to the period 2017-2018, having called it a trend. Hahn further explained that the European Union was the largest individual donor of the OHR, covering 54% of the OHR budget, having allocated EUR 2.75 million in 2019. Other large donors of the OHR are the USA and Turkey.
MEP Zovko points out that upon joining the EP, she was very concerned about the fact that the international administration was so generously awarded for very poor or no result made in BiH, what was in contradiction to their task to help BiH with European integration.
“I was really concerned with the fact and the discovery that the funds were invested in high salaries of international officials, who were keeping the status quo in BiH and who created a whole range of crises in the country by imprudent imposing of various solutions to the detriment of the Croat nation, which solutions were subsequently rejected by the Constitutional Court as inadequate and no international official was held responsible for that, but on the contrary – they were rewarded with more funding.” – says Zovko for Večernji List. Zovko points out that lessons must be learnt from the pointless moves of the so-called international community. Those moves were lately disputed by the Constitutional Court, but did harm enough and in addition to the local stakeholders, brought the entire country in the situation to be considered “a sore country on the EU border”, which neither the USA nor the EU expect to recover soon. However, noone is trying to determine the cause of the illness in order to treat it and heal it. “Actually, instead of those “idle sleepers” we urgently need a Dr. House to start examining the status of the patient and looking for the cause of the crisis, which polarised the country along the two extremes – unitarism and separatism and entirely weakened the integrating and reconnecting factor, which is possible only as a mid-path between the two mentioned extremes.” – says Zovko. Therefore, she believes the response by the European Commissioner Hahn is to be saluted.
“I am very much pleased that the Commissioner Hahn responded to my question and actually undertook something. In the forthcoming period we have to implement the lessons learnt and analyse whether the funds were spent in a transparent way.” – as of Zovko. She adds that BiH must make a step forward and implement the key reforms in order to stabilise and create pre-conditions for an agreement between the communities. “I still support the idea that the mistakes made so far must be corrected on the basis of experience and that the efficiency of policies of the European Commission and State Department in BiH must be reconsidered, as started with the ICG Exit Report 2015. Stability and sustainability of BiH is the number one interest of the foreign policy of the Republic of Croatia.”
By Zoran Krešić, Večernji List, Mostar, 7 March (translated to English)