Opening of EU entry talks incentive for BiH, election reform crucial

Photo /Vijesti/2024/Ožujak/23 ozujka/230324.jpg

The European Council's decision to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina is an incentive for it to continue with reforms, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said today, adding that changing the election law and ending the outvoting of Croats are key for that.

"This decision at the highest level of heads of state and government is a brilliant incentive for further reforms and catching up so BiH can enter the convoy which Ukraine and Moldova joined a little earlier, Plenković said in an interview with the Mostar-based HerceBosna Radio-Television.

He said that before the European Council session, he lobbied with officials of the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Luxembourg who had reservations about BiH's progress towards EU membership.

European Council President Charles Michel played an extremely constructive role in approving the opening of negotiations with BiH, he added.

Earlier in the day, Plenković received BiH Foreign Minister Elmedin Konaković, congratulating him on the European Council's decision and saying that he was personally very happy about it.

Plenković is confident that BiH can make accelerated progress towards the EU by delivering on reforms.

"The election law is the foundation. For me, as prime minister and HDZ president, it's key to resolve the issue of legitimate representation of Croats in the BiH Presidency because this anomaly exists since 2006. That's not good. It's a message of disrespect for a constituent people and a distortion of the spirit, letter and agreement from Dayton."

Southern gas interconnection

Croatia's strategic interest is to capitalise its LNG terminal by enabling BiH to diversify its gas supply routes and to protect the interests of Croats in BiH at the same time, Plenković said.

"Whichever solution is found in BiH, it should be a solution under which Croats, as an equal constituent people - since gas is coming from Croatia to the area where Croats live in Bosnia and Herzegovina - must have a key role. There is no doubt about that for us. That's why we supported Dragan Čović."

Text: Hina