BiH’s path to EU accession requires comprehensive political and economic reforms that have been blocked by those who believe it is their undeniable right to deny genocide, BiH Parliamentary Assembly House of Peoples Speaker Bakir Izetbegović said on Friday. the 10th Conference of Southeast Europe and the Visegrad Group the Speakers of the Parliaments of the Member States in Budapest.
“The reasons blocking BiH’s European path are the blockades and the crisis caused by political forces from the Republika Srpska (RS) unit just because they were legally barred from denying genocide and celebrating war criminals. “Bosniak citizens are currently being held hostage by those who think it is their undeniable right to deny genocide and decorate convicted war criminals,” Izetbegović warned.
He also warned of examples of discrimination in the RS entity, saying supporters of such policies were threatening the Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the 1992-1995 war in BiH, thus threatening peace and stability in the region.
The Speaker of the House of Peoples called on all EU member states to show zero tolerance for destructive policy makers and to use mechanisms that can stop and prevent destabilization of the situation. In this context, he noted the need to implement the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and eliminate discrimination in the electoral process.
“BiH is a state composed of two units, three peoples, but also four political groups – Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats and a civic group. The latter is at least twice as represented in the BiH Parliamentary Assembly and the FBiH Parliament as the Croatian parties. “Nevertheless, some want to ‘push’ this group into the Bosniak quota of 33 per cent, even though Bosniak and civic parties make up 60 per cent of the electorate and parliament,” Izetbegović said.
The President also spoke about the practice of abusing the authority of the House of Peoples, but also the dissatisfaction of ethnic Croatian parties due to the way representatives are elected in government institutions.
He recalled that lifting the veto in the decision-making process and reducing the powers of the houses of the people are demands of the European Commission and the Venice Commission.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and European Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi also attended the conference, hosted by Hungarian National Assembly Speaker Laszlo Kover. Conference participants adopted a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to European integration and called on EU members to speed up the enlargement process, Izetbegovic’s Cabinet said.