Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

"We Cannot Wash our Hands with the Migrants"

Adelina Marini, September 28, 2016

It is the third day after the referendum in the Serbian part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Media in the region have already returned to national subjects, but the referendum is still the subject of commentaries. Croatian media are fully immersed in the official consultations for the formation of a government, which are starting today, the Montenegrin ones are also busy with the upcoming parliamentary elections in October, Serbian ones are focused on domestic issues, as are the Macedonian ones as well. Media in Bosnia and Herzegovina are also busy with the upcoming local elections this Sunday. It is not elections, however, that will be the focus of today’s regional media review. 

We cannot build a society based on biases and ideologies

At the background of expectations for a new refugee wave in the Western Balkans region, a strong message came from the Croatian Catholic Church. At a meeting of the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe in Madrid, the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, stated that Europe cannot wash its hands with migrants. "It is not possible to build the future of any society on the basis of prejudice and ideologies. Political authorities must fulfil their duty and urgently harmonise all administrative actions with national and international laws. In such times, there is no place for hypocrisy and all are called to cooperate. There could be no washing of hands in Europe today: governments, EU institutions, and society in general, religious communities – we are all somehow involved”, said Cardinal Bozanić, warning that there are two extremes, which need to be avoided in the integration of migrants – ghettoization and assimilation, reports Vecernji list.

And while we are still on the subject of religion and refugees, in Jutarnji list one of the most respected columnists Miljenko Jergović is outraged by the fact that world media have, in his opinion, totally disregarded a very important piece of news – the meeting of around two hundred Sunny imams in Chechnya, at which Wahhabism was severely condemned. As Miljenko Jergović writes, it is the official ideology of Saudi Arabia and ISIS. At that meeting, Wahhabism was pronounced a “dangerous deformity” of Sunny Islam. The imams see the allowing by Wahhabists and even the encouraging of violence over non-believers and all those that they see as non-believers as the most dangerous element of this deformity. The columnist is utterly bewildered that this meeting was missed. He points out that only the French Le Monde and the British The Independent have notified of the meeting. He admits that the place where it was held and the host are controversial, but this should not throw a shadow over the event. 

"Such denouncement of the Wahhabite regime in Saudi Arabia and ISIS touches on the ideological and religious essence of things, but also brings harm to the American geostrategic and oil interests. And once again confronts us with the paradox, to which we are blind: the Americans, while fighting ISIS, are at the same time backing Saudi Arabia, which in turn supports ISIS and builds capillary Islamist institutions all over the world, which it uses to help ISIS and supports its terrorist activity all over Europe and America. Why are the Americans supporting someone, who supports their adversaries? This is the question, which is not asked”, writes Miljenko Jergović, but reminds that only fools would dwell on the question whether if the Americans are on evil’s side, does it mean Russians are on good’s side or vice versa. 

"BiH went into lawlessness. The end of Dayton is coming"

This is the headline of a commentary in the Croatian Novi list by Boris Pavelić, according to whom the Dodik referendum has destroyed the post-war architecture of the Balkans. "In order to understand the extent to which the Dodik referendum for the Day of Republika Srpska is dangerous for the entire post-war architecture of the countries of the former Yugoslavia, it is only well to quote here the statement of the experienced, but otherwise always cautious Mate Granić – the Tuđman Minister of Foreign Affairs and current foreign policy adviser to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović: ‘I believe that the situation is dangerous’, said Granić yesterday on Croatian radio and added that the important thing is to immediately mobilise the USA and look for allies in the EU, so that BiH is preserved as a sovereign and integral state, but also a state in which Croats will have equal rights. The US Embassy in BiH announced yesterday that it is ‘considering retaliatory measures’, but also underlined that it ‘expects that the respective institutions will deal with the obvious violation of the law within the legal framework of BiH’”, says in his commentary Boris Pavelić.

Serbian Blic also deals with the referendum today, revealing that the Americans are preparing a punishment for Dodik. The newspaper reminds that RS President Milorad Dodik cannot take advantage of his immunity, for it concerns only legal liability, while his case is of a different type of liability. In an interview for the Serbian Danas, the rapporteur on Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Parliament Cristian Dan Preda (EPP, Romania) states that Russian influence is worrying. “The rule of law is one of the pillars of the EU and is high on the list of EU membership criteria. In this context, the referendum is in conflict with BiH’s application for membership and brings up serious questions. As you know Russia is the only country, which has openly supported Dodik’s referendum and to us in the EU this is a worrying signal that Russia is attempting to widen its confrontation with Europe. The fact that 99.8% of voters chose to vote ‘yes’ at the referendum does not mean more jobs or more prosperity in RS, this is just populism”, says Dan Preda for Danas.

Of revenge for the referendum speaks yet another Serbian daily – Politika. The newspaper reports that Serbian authorities have no position yet on how will they react if sanctions are levied because of Dodik’s referendum. Bosnian Klix reports today that BiH president Bakir Izetbegović has expressed regret about the comparison of Dodik to Qaddafi. The edition also reports that Mr Izetbegović is considering his withdrawal from politics in a few years. It does not become clear how many. 

Macedonian Dnevnik sees the BiH referendum through its own prism, asking the question whether the EU will qualify as valid the rulings of the Macedonian Constitutional Court as well. Iskra Korovesovska writes in a commentary for the newspaper that the EU pronounced the BiH referendum results illegal and invalid, only because the Constitutional Court had ruled on the issue beforehand. “If we should switch to the Macedonian political scene, without doubt the question rises whether the position of Brussels will be identical if the Macedonian Constitutional Court rules the existence of the specialised prosecution to be against the Constitution. In other words, should the Constitutional Court remove the specialised prosecution, will Brussels applaud it, calling for an inter-institutional solution to the problem, meaning respect for the court’s ruling. Especially having in mind the situation that the EU itself, with the signature of its representatives at Przino, stands behind its unconstitutional formation”, writes Iskra Korovesovska.

Translated by Stanimir Stoev

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