August 18, 2017 Interviews

BiH needs a new deal

As Head of Delegation of the European Parliament for BiH and Kosovo, MEP Tonino Picula talks about BiH's great temptations, situation in the region and integrations in an interview for Večernji List BiH

• It can be heard for a certain period now, that Croatia has a negative impact on BiH and the involvement of the European Parliament MEPs is mentioned, especially in the context of the European Parliament's Resolution. Do you think of yourself as a friend of BiH or something else to?

- I would be very happy if there was a consensus in BiH on the European future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at least at the level that exists in the EU institutions. Especially when it comes to the European Parliament, where I have the honor and the obligation as the Head of Delegation for BiH and Kosovo, to promote positive aspects, but also to warn on the stalemate on that path.

My efforts for a sovereign, sustainable, prosperous and democratic BiH, where the individual and collective rights of its citizens are adequately protected, continue since the 90's when I, as a secretary of the Society of Friendship of Croatia and BiH, stood opposite a policy that did not respect the complex reality of a neighboring state and many procedures compromised the overall policy of Zagreb in those difficult times.

Long time has passed since then, Croatia became a member of the EU after very demanding negotiations and is facing a new generation of problems today, while Bosnia and Herzegovina, unfortunately, recycles many traumas from that period. Croatia, as the first EU neighbor of BiH, must continue to respect its territorial integrity and positively influence on its political stability and assist BiH on its path towards EU membership. Our positively defined interests towards BiH should derive from historical experience, elementary geopolitics and need for, within multilateral organizations, active participation in looking for possible new and more solid arrangements in this area. In this regard, as I have done so far, I will try to incorporate my political beliefs and experiences into the functioning of institutions.

• During preparation of the document "EP Resolution on BiH", it was insisted on removing the constituent peoples in BiH. The public knows little about it. Why is it so controversial?

- It is a matter of concern that the constitutionality of the three peoples in BiH hampers the execution of the verdict of the European Court of Human Rights in the well-known case "Sejdić-Finci" and discriminates other BiH citizens in their right to an adequate political representation. By contrast, while respecting the above mentioned ruling with the requirement to apply it adequately, I have explained in the European Parliament that BiH is now a space where neither individual constituent people cannot ensure guaranteed political representation. I have succeeded in providing support for the view that certain political rights in B&H need to be upgraded, but not in a way that existing and crucial ones, be annihilated. 

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