Everybody believes in a bright future for BiH – except its citizens

Everybody believes in a bright future for BiH – except its citizens

In the last several months BiH is going through one of the hardest periods after war and it is not exaggerated to say that division between three constitutional nations, Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats, is the biggest in last 25 years.

The decision of the Constitutional court about the unconstitutionality of January 9 as RS Day, the referendum on this issue and the commemoration of this disputed holiday with a parade on the Banja Luka streets, the intention of Bosniaks to revision of the lawsuit of BiH against Serbia for genocide, made the atmosphere very tense and has deepened the gap between politicians and, as an extend, BiH citizens.

However, according to the last statements of EU officials, they believe that BiH can be a better state for all nations and that it have a bright future in this organization. These expectations were confirmed during BiH Minister of foreign affairs, Igor Crnadak, visit to EU in Brussels where on Monday evening he met with the Vice-President of the European Commission and EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

In the announcement issued after meeting by BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs was said that Crnadak informed Mogherini that the process of completing the Questionnaire of the European Commission is going in accordance with the expected dynamics and that BiH continues its activities with the aim of achieving the status of candidate for EU membership by the end of the year. He also informed the High Representative Mogherini that BiH continues with the implementation of the Reform Agenda and that the main priorities in 2017 are the fight against corruption, economic development, with special emphasis on reducing the high unemployment rate. It is necessary to said that these priorities also were valid on the beginning of the last year.

During the conversation, Minister Crnadak and High Representative Mogherini agreed that the process of European integration is of great importance for the entire region, and that the process of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans will be continued despite numerous challenges that the EU is facing, such as Brexit, elections in some member States, economic crisis, terrorism, migration etc.

“Minister Crnadak discussed with the High Representative the potential revision of the lawsuit of BiH against Serbia for genocide, he introduced her to the possibility that it is a new source of mutual distrust and tensions in BiH as well as the fact that two members of the Presidency are specifically against starting the revision”, announced the Ministry.

On the other side, Mogherini’s press office issued more optimistic announcement saying that they discussed the remarkable progress the country has made on its EU integration path over the last year, when it applied for the EU membership and is now responding to the Questionnaire.

“They also discussed the ongoing reform agenda efforts: The European Union will support the country in this process, crucial for addressing the economic and social challenges, as well as in the areas of rule of law and public administration. Success in these reforms can bring important benefits for citizens and help advance the EU perspective of BiH as a single, united and sovereign country”, Mogherini’s office says in the announcement.

It is obvious that Mogherini’s office is more optimistic than Crnadak’s and it became more obvious after meeting of Crnadak and Cristian Dan Preda, European Parliament Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Preda said that he supports BiH on its path to EU, emphasizing that process of reforms must continue in same intensity.

Crnadak also held meetings with co-chairs the Friends Group of BiH in the European Parliament, Jasenko Selimovic, members of the European Parliament Eduard Kukan, President of the European People’s Party (EPP) Joseph Daul and the Secretary General of EPP Antonio Lopez-Isturiz.

On the other side, more than 200 citizens gathered in the city of Tuzla to mark the three year anniversary of mass protests in many BiH cities, which resulted with several burned buildings and dozens of protesters and police officers wounded.

“Three years have passed, but there is no visible progress. If the state wanted progress of the economy they would have done it. The state have instruments for that, but the authorities let everything go to waste and leave the people with nothing. It is absurd that the people consent to all of it”, said Dzevad Mehmedovic, protest leader.

For many of his coworkers, the situation is “so dark that it couldn’t get any darker”. They complaint about politicians who, as one of them said, live in the world where all is nice and white.

“They do not see the misery and the poor people on the streets. They do not see our young professionals who leave our country in search of a job”, said Trade Union leader, Sakib Kopic.

A lot of citizens in both entities have similar opinions about the situation and do not believe that BiH will ever fulfill all necessary conditions for EU membership. However, the majority of the citizens believe that the biggest responsibility for this situation lies with the politicians, forgetting that they were the ones who elected them in the elections./IBNA