Bosnia and Croatia Settle Bilateral Problems

Bosnia and Croatia have solved several open issues that could affect both countries after July 1, when Croatia is due to join the European Union.Bosnia’s Foreign Minister, Zlatko Lagumdzija, on February 18 praised the efforts made over the past year to solve remaining open questions with Croatia, especially hailing an agreement on the use of the Croatian port of Ploce, to which Bosnia also claims rights.

He recalled that at last week’s meeting with his Croatian counterpart, Vesna Pusic, and with the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fule, in Brussels, it was agreed that Bosnia will be able to continue to use the Adriatic port for exports if its animal products match EU standards.

“The Commission proposes a special transit regime for exports from BiH through the port of Ploce,” Fule said, adding that this will ensure that the export and import of agricultural products can continue after Croatia joins the EU in July 1.

Another topic at last Friday’s meeting was borders, which is significant because Bosnia and Herzegovina will become a neighboring country to the EU in July.

Pusic said that there will be around 50 crossing points between Croatia and Bosnia, of different categories, with some regular border crossings and some only for live animals intended for export.

“We significantly speeded up building the necessary border crossings and all of them will be finished by April 1,” Pusic said.

It was also agreed between the two neighboring countries that citizens of Bosnian border towns will get special cards to cross the Croatian border without passports after Croatia becomes part of the EU.

Croatia said it would ask the other EU countries to allow it to let all Bosnians cross the border with only identity cards after July 1.

Bosnia and Croatia were both republics of the former Yugoslavia and have around 1,000 kilometres of common border.

Croatia’s membership of the EU has caused much concern in Bosnia, raising fears that both trade and communications will be hit.

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