New “political brochure” from Croatia: practical policy changes or reopening of “old wounds” for its neighbours?
At the end of May, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) produced a “policy brochure” outlining several demands that should be met in the negotiation process for the integration of Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina into the EU. On the other hand, the HAZU document lists, among other things, some conditions that it believes Zagreb should set to protect Croatian national interests in the region.
Croatia has been an EU member state since 2013. However, Serbia, along with Montenegro, is still the only candidate country that has been in the accession process for several years. That is because they have not fulfilled all the requirements and procedures necessary for accession, which Croatia wanted to point out in the document in question. In contrast, as far as Serbia is concerned, the recommendations made by HAZU were received with great anger.
In the case of Serbia, they include the demand that Belgrade ’renounce the Greater Serbia propaganda’, which Russia is helping to spread. Also included in the document is recognition of Belgrade for its ‘aggression’ against Croatia during the 1991-95 war and payment of compensations.
HAZU also calls for the completion of the demarcation of the border between Serbia and Croatia on the Danube River and the recognition of the disputed river island of Sharengrad as Croatian, as well as for better protection of the rights of the Croatian minority in Serbia and the distinction of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia.
As part of its recommendations for Montenegro, HAZU suggested guaranteed seats in the Montenegrin Parliament for Croats. HAZU also calls on Podgorica to publicly apologize and pay compensation for supporting Serbian military operations in Croatia during the civil war in the 1990s.
In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, HAZU is demanding recognition of the just, liberating role of Croatia and Croats in the creation and defence of the state against Serbian aggression. Currently, the Croats share one of the two Bosnian entities with the more numerous Bosniaks and have been demanding their entity.
The document has provoked particular outrage, especially from the Serb side. However, Belgrade sees the demands not as reopening “old wounds”.