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Milko Grmuša: In five years we could live in a country where things work


“It is necessary for the more creative political elements, which are present in all mainstream parties, but also outside the parties, to start moving a little. “Five smart and well-intentioned politicians from all relevant parties in BiH, as well as five foreigners who have relevant influence, knowledge and desire to change the paradigm in BiH, could fundamentally change relations in BiH in the next five years,” said Milko Grmuša, vice president of the Party of Democratic Progress, in an interview for “The Srpska Times”.

The Srpska Times: Political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina is, practically, permanent state. Why is it so, in your opinion?

GRMUŠA: In addition to the historical reasons that are more or less well known to everyone, I would like to point out one fact that I did not notice was the subject of public analysis. Namely, sometime in early 2000, after a long time, a relatively strong political and social consensus was created in BiH that BiH, together with other countries in the region, should become a member of the European Union. This determination is one of the rare things that was not imposed from the outside – the majority of Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats honestly saw EU membership as a great chance to create real preconditions for long-term peace and social progress in this region. Political actors also accepted this goal and were somehow all aware that everyone would have to make some difficult concessions for BiH to become a full member of the EU. For the Serbs, this meant that there would be a certain reduction of Dayton autonomy, for the Bosniaks that they would have to accept that Republika Srpska was a cemented category, and for the Croats that the third entity was not happening.

At the Thessaloniki summit in 2003, the EU and its most important members (Germany, France and Great Britain) promised all the countries in the region that they would become full members of the EU in due course. This gave all the countries in the region, including BiH, the motivation to overcome the heavy burden of the past, intensify mutual political, economic and cultural cooperation and approach systemic internal reforms.

However, not long after that, the EU admitted to its membership all countries except BiH, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania, although, objectively, the new member states did not meet all the criteria for joining the EU. So, it is clear that it was a matter of admitting some countries and not others – only and exclusively for political reasons.

From that moment on, there is no longer a so-called the “Brussels Consensus”, and the previous one, the Dayton Consensus, was grossly violated by numerous constitutional changes in BiH, which were either imposed by high representatives or adopted by domestic political actors in the good faith that this means getting closer to the EU. So, in the meantime, we in BiH have lost the basis on which our political system functions, that is, the new Brussels political agreement was terminated, while the previous Dayton political agreement became ineffective with the aforementioned changes.

In other words, the EU deceived us. Several years ago in Belgrade, President Macron clearly and directly said that the countries of the region will not enter the EU until the EU itself is reformed internally, just so that we fulfil all possible conditions here. So, it’s not up to us, now it’s up to the EU.

However, since the political agreement that was adopted in BiH 20 years ago has been permanently terminated, while the internal factors in BiH willingly accepted that agreement, and the EU terminated it, we now really have an extremely serious systemic crisis, the generators of which, basically, they cannot be subsumed under those popular explanations in the form of daily political bickering. The problem is really complex.

The Srpska Times


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