No agreement on the census

No agreement on the census

Sarajevo, March 15, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

Members of the BiH Central Census Bureau failed to use the last chance and reach an agreement on a single programme for BiH census data processing. According to earlier statements, the March 15 meeting in Sarajevo was the last chance for agreement in order to respect July 1 as the deadline for census results publishing.

Director of the BiH Statistics Agency, Velimir Jukic, in his address to the media after session of Bureau expressed his hope that the consensus could be reached with the support of highly leveled authorities respectively, the BiH Council of Ministers, by the expiration date of the legal deadline. But there is a small chance of that happening, since the Serb ministers in Council of ministers think that their representatives in the Bureau are right to demand that citizens which have address in BiH but are not permanent residents should not be counted in the total number of citizens.

Director of the Republika Srpska Statistics Institute, Radmila Cickovic, has expressed regret for failing to reach an agreement at the meeting, hoping that reaching a consensus will be possible in a reasonable period of time. Director of the Statistics Institute of the Federation BiH, Emir Kremic, has said that no one can be blamed over the failure to reach a consensus, hoping that the census data could be published within the legal deadline.

Adil Osmanovic, BiH Minister of Civil Affairs, who holds the position of the BiH Council of Ministers’ Census Coordinator, said that he cannot imagine that the census may fail, stressing that the BiH Statistics Agency should complete the work in accordance with the Law.

Serb representatives in BiH joint institutions are angry because of this situation stressing that BiH will lose more than 50 million BAM (25 million Euro) which were invested in the census process. Leader of the Serb caucus in the BiH House of Representatives, Stasa Kosarac, condemned as he said “the political obstruction of publication of results of the BiH population census”, warning that the leading Bosniak politicians, who stand behind these efforts, are still dragging the country to the past and disaster.

He said that the Bosniak political leaders, primarily Bakir Izetbegovic, are persistently refusing to give up the SDA’s wartime goals, the foundation of which is the creation of a unitary BiH and the outvoting of the other two constituent peoples.

“We recognise such policy both in the actions of the new BiH Council of Ministers and in the classical political obstructions of the implementation of the law on the population census and publication of results of the 2013 population census in keeping with the law”, Kosarac told told the media commenting on the failure of representatives of the Statistics Offices to reach an agreement.

Right now, the results are waiting for something to happen in order to be published and verified in Parliament. If they fail to do reach agreement the only relevant census in BiH will remain the one which was performed in 1991, a year before war. But, it would be the first time in modern history that a country doesn’t know how many citizens it has and what its demographic structure is.