On Thursday, the office of President Zoran Milanović issued a full letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković criticizing the government's support for the EU Council's Enlargement Conclusion, as the final document did not mention the constituency and legitimate political representation of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The president's office said on Wednesday that in a letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, President Zoran Milanović expressed dissatisfaction and opposition to the EU Council's conclusions on enlargement and the Stabilization and Association Process, as it did not guarantee the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a constituent people.
On Thursday, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, accused Milanović making malicious insinuations that are damaging to Croatian interests, declaring it a blow to the government.
Milanović's office published the entire letter to the prime minister so that the public would be fully aware of the reasons why the president is dissatisfied with the Council's document, adopted after two years.
The President believes that the Conclusions could be interpreted as a confirmation of the efforts of those who oppose changes to the election law that would enable the legitimate representation of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Milanović wrote that the government correctly set out initial proposals, in order to include constitutivity, the next electoral reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the legitimate representation of Croats in the document.
It is incomprehensible to the president why the government waived such minimum requirements during the negotiations, especially since the document could not have been passed without Croatia's consent, stressing that it departed from the National Security Council's position in early November.
The Conclusions of the Council do not mention constitutivity, nor do they mention Croats in a single word. Point 59 refers to the institutional mechanisms established by the Dayton Peace Agreement in relation to which Bosnia and Herzegovina must carry out further constitutional and electoral reforms in order to ensure equality and non-discrimination of all citizens.
Minister Grlić Radman said that "the mention of the Dayton Peace Agreement (in the text) automatically implies the constitutivity of the peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina".
The conclusions also call for the implementation of the Sejdić-Finci case. The ruling confirmed the discriminatory nature of Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral system, which prevented those who did not consider themselves members of one of the three constituent peoples from running for the presidency or House of Peoples, which can be found on the European Court of Human Rights website under the case named after Roma Dervo Sejdić and Jew Jakob Finci.
In its Conclusions, the EU Council also calls for the full implementation of a number of decisions of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court. In the Ljubić case, this institution found in 2016 that the existing election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina discriminates against the constituent peoples.
In a letter to the prime minister, Milanović claims that the government is declaratively committed to protecting the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while it withdraws whenever it is necessary to take decisive action, such as a possible blockade of this unacceptable document.
He stressed that Croatia must not support any document that requires our consent, which would not contain basic elements of protection of the Croatian people, such as the constitutivity of all three peoples, guarantee their legitimate representation and full respect for the Dayton Accords.
“I expect, therefore, that the Government of the Republic of Croatia in its activities, primarily in the EU but also in all other forums and international organizations of which Croatia is a member, acts in this way. Only such a clear position and its firm and uncompromising implementation will receive my full support as a co-creator of the foreign policy of the Republic of Croatia,” concluded the President in his letter.
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