26.08.2016., Zagreb - Josip Juratovic, zastupnik u njemackom parlamentu Bundestagu.”nPhoto: Boris Scitar/Vecernji list/PIXSELLBORIS SCITAR/PIXSELL - Pixsell
member of the Bundestag

Josip Juratović for Dnevnik.ba: In FBiH, it is of great importance what a numerically stronger group offers to the smaller one in order not to repeat the mistakes with the breakup of Yugoslavia

Jurica GudeljPiše Jurica Gudelj  /  15.04.2022., 12:19h
In an interview with Dnevnik.ba, Josip Juratović, a longtime member of the SPD in the German Bundestag, spoke about the political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, differences and many similarities between the political systems of Germany and BiH, what would happen in Germany if political parties openly refused to implement the Constitutional Court ruling, but also on how Germany fully supports Bosnia and Herzegovina as described in its own Constitution - the state of the three constituent peoples. He also pointed out that the domestic political elite is responsible for the non-functioning of BiH, and he also spoke about the dangers of imposing political representatives on the constituent peoples.

The topic of the Election Law reform has been occupying all the BiH publics for years. In recent months, this topic has become even hotter because the topic of the Election Law reform is being instrumentalized in order to change the constitutional character of BiH. Is Germany committed to full and consistent respect for the BiH Constitution and the principles on which the Constitution is based, such as constituency of peoples, and the Dayton Peace Agreement, which established modern BiH?

The constitution is the foundation of any country and therefore it is necessary to respect that foundation, and Germany absolutely adheres to that. However, through our observation of the national policies of BiH, we see that they violate this very foundation. According to its constitution, BiH is a country consisting of three constituent peoples, Others and the citizens. It can be noticed that each of these constituent peoples rightly stands for their constituency, but at the same time they absolutely ignore "Others and citizens".

So, in the end, it turns out that BiH is the last racist state in Europe because everyone except the constituent peoples is discriminated against or disenfranchised. So BiH is all but a modern state and it is permanently reversing towards the Middle Ages.

Can Germany help to implement all rulings that concern the BiH election legislation, both the rulings of the BiH Constitutional Court (Ljubić case) and all rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (Sejdić-Finci, Zornić, Pilav ...)? Is there room for Germany to act independently or is everything being done as part of various EU initiatives?

Germany has always advocated and continues to advocate that BiH, within the framework of the Dayton Agreement, become a modern democratic country that has a place in the EU. However, the implementation of court decisions cannot be done by Germany or anyone other than those politically responsible in BiH, and it is unacceptable for us that someone tells us they want to join the EU and at the same time do not implement international court rulings that are the foundation of the EU.

Which principles of German federalism are applicable in BiH and which are not? From the BiH perspective, the Bundestag is most similar to the FBiH / BiH PA House of Representatives, while the Bundesrat has the most similarities to the FBiH / BiH PA House of Peoples (with the key difference that the Bundesrat represents federal states while the House of Peoples represents constituent peoples and national minorities). Have there ever been initiatives in Germany to "abolish" the Bundesrat, or to complain that the various federal states have "too much" power in relation to their much smaller share of the German population?

The Federal Republic of Germany has a federal system of 16 constituent states (Länder) with 16 federal constitutions of those countries, which have different numbers of representatives in terms of population. In practice, about two-thirds of laws passed in the federal parliament must pass both houses to take effect. However, it is difficult to compare the German system with BiH because BiH consists of two entities with one entity consisting of two constituent peoples and all together using different mechanisms to block the work of the House of Peoples so that parliament cannot implement decisions that are detrimental to BiH politics and future.

In this way, especially main ethnic parties of the three constituent peoples, have created a system in which they have not wanted to change anything for thirty years, in a way that they can not agree on anything and in fact agreed on only one - that they can not agree.

Regardless of one's preference for certain political options, how dangerous is it in a state like Bosnia and Herzegovina to impose political representatives on an entire constituent people through electoral engineering?

It is certainly detrimental to the peace and stability of a country when one ethnic group imposes its political will on the other ethnic group instead of offering a common compromise to ensure a better life for their peoples who, whether they like it or not, have only one state. 

In my opinion, it is especially important in the Federation of BiH what a numerically stronger group offers to the smaller one in order to maintain peace and stability and not to repeat the mistakes with the breakup of Yugoslavia where Serbs, as the largest ethnic group in the former Yugoslavia, did not have enough consideration for fears of smaller nations. They caused the secession that led to war via their nationalism and centralism.

I think that in BiH we need to change the culture of dialogue in the context of negotiating with the offer and not with the request, so to see what they (constituent peoples, author's note) offer to each other and what concessions they are willing to make, in order to reach the compromise necessary for peace, stability and prosperity of BiH.

What would happen in Germany if politicians openly refused to implement any Constitutional Court ruling and demanded that the elections be held despite the lack of rules on how to fully implement them?

Germany and all democratic systems have three pillars of power. So the legislature is the parliament, the executive, and the independent judiciary, especially the constitutional court, which is absolutely independent of the first two and whose decisions they must respect. 

Disrespect of the Constitutional Court is almost impossible in Germany because any political option that would question the Constitutional Court ruling would receive harsh condemnation from society, because it destroys the foundations of a democratic system.

In recent months, we have heard from Germany certain political voices advocating the transformation of BiH into a "civic state" in the way advocated by the majority Bosniak parties based in Sarajevo. On the other hand, the U.S. envoy for the Western Balkans, Mr. Escobar, openly said that "civic BiH" could be discussed only after BiH's accession to the EU. In that light, are there differences in the view of BiH's future between the United States and Germany?

I am not aware that political voices from Germany are advocating a civic state as Bosniak nationalists see it. Germany represents BiH as a state of equal citizens on the entire territory of BiH, exactly as it is based on the BiH Constitution. Therefore, it is important for us that the measure for the state of equal citizens is the equality of Bosniaks and Croats in Banja Luka, Serbs and Croats in Zenica and Serbs and Bosniaks in Široki Brijeg.

Thus, we support all political options in BiH that are fighting in their communities for this kind of state of equal citizens. As for Mr. Escobar, although I am also fighting for the early start of BiH's pre-accession negotiations for EU accession, I resolutely reject such a proposal because we do not want to get additional Orbans in the EU, which has its own problems in this context, and would only make more trouble.

I personally advocate an institutionally and democratically strong EU and I fight against any EU "orbanisation" that would inevitably lead it to the fate of the former Yugoslavia.

In a statement a few days ago, you felt the need to point out that "there is no special rapporteur of the Bundestag for BiH or the Western Balkans" and that German politicians from the Western Balkans should be involved in creating a common German foreign policy. Of course, you have always been clear in your condemnation of phenomena with which you did not agree, even when it came to Croatia or Croats in BiH. Is there a possibility that German politicians from the Western Balkans will lose objectivity when it comes to the people or country they come from?

The greatest enemy of democracy is nationalism, and with that we have an obligation as members of the German parliament to resolutely fight against all kinds of nationalism, both in Germany and beyond. However, in my opinion, the fight against nationalism is only credible if we fight against nationalism, everyone in their ranks who has a name and surname.

It is inadmissible for someone to ignore nationalism in their own ranks and fight against nationalism on the opposite side without looking for an alternative with which to better build a common future, that is, by generalizing the opposite side.

At least two are needed for peace and stability, and in BiH even three. And that is my message to everyone who is in the German Bundestag and who is originally from the Western Balkans and deals with the Western Balkans.


23. lipanj 2024 14:14