President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Speech made to the Assembly

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Dear Madam President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, allow me to express my gratitude for the opportunity to address you today. I am actually accustomed to calling you my colleagues because, less than a year ago, I was a parliamentarian myself. I had the privilege to meet and befriend many of you – exchanging opinions, discussing current events and even sharing common fears. I will keep those friendships for the rest of my life. I had the honour to serve as one of the acting Vice-Presidents of the Assembly.

Today, I address you as the Chairman of the Presidency of a country that is chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the first time in its history. You are directly elected representatives of 800 million citizens from across lands stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. You have a position of prestige, but also of immense responsibility. We started our chairmanship a little over a month ago determined to perform our duties with the utmost responsibility and dedication. We cannot promise to be the best chairmanship ever, but we can promise to do the best we can.

Please allow me to tell you a few words about the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I will not read a written statement; I will tell you about it in my own words. The situation in the country is not ideal, and there is still a lot to be done, but the position is much better than it was 20 years ago at the end of the war. Compared with other difficult areas around the world, Bosnia represents some sort of success. The country is now at peace, it has not experienced ethnically caused problems for the past decade and it is slowly becoming a more or less normal country. It is far from ideal, and there are many challenges and differences, but we have slowly learned lessons and we know how to overcome those challenges. The new government and presidency decided to adopt the rule that they would speak in public only about compromises, not about differences. That has created a much more positive atmosphere.

“If we are part of something broader, we will immediate relax the whole political situation and the internal differences will be less relevant”

The approach of the international community has changed. Ten years ago, I witnessed key political figures in Europe send the clear message that after Croatia, there would be no more enlargement for years and years. Bosnia knew that the European Union was its only real hope and final destiny, so the knowledge that there was no chance of becoming a member State for decades halted internal reforms in Bosnia. To expect very sensitive issues, such as the case of Sejdic and Finci, to be solved was not realistic. Now, in the new geopolitical environment, we have a new European initiative. First, we will deal with the issues that are in the interest of all and implement economic reforms. After that, and before becoming a candidate country, we will deal with sensitive matters, such as constitutional issues and the Sejdic and Finci case.

I hope that during the next week, we will have agreement on the reform agenda in the country. We have decided to implement that agenda during the next nine months, after which we will solve the problem that we call the co-ordination mechanism, which will allow us to have a single statement within our complicated structure when we negotiate with the European Union. After that, we will apply to be a member State. We know very well that the answer will not be positive until we have solved the problem of Sejdic and Finci, and our plan is to deal with that in 2017, the year after the local elections. The difference now is that we have a realistic prospect of becoming a member State, which was not the case before. I hope that that will be enough motivation for all the political leaders to agree, finally, on a solution to the problem so that we can become a candidate country by the end of that year. That is the only hope for the country. If we remain isolated, our internal differences will be very relevant, but if we are part of something broader, we will immediately relax the whole political situation and the internal differences will be less relevant. That is the plan. I do not want to create too optimistic an impression. There will be a lot of challenges, but for the first time, I think that both the European Union and the leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina are serious about doing something. I do not even want to think about the alternative, because stability in the country is still very fragile, as recent events show clearly.

The situation in the region is helpful. Croatia is part of the European Union, and Serbia is advancing strongly. Political relations in the region are much better than they used to be, which will help to support us. For Bosnia, good relations in the region are one of the most important preconditions of political stability in the country. I encourage all our friends from the international community to continue to support those positive developments. There are some possible difficulties. The region has not faced terrorist attacks in previous years, but last year and this year we have had some. That is now the main challenge for the region. I have spoken to colleagues from different countries, and we know that we must co-operate much better than we have done to deal with that problem. There are two preconditions for that. The first is that political leaders must strongly oppose radicalisation, especially that of their own people. If a Serb criticises the Bosnians or the Muslims, it will be counter-productive, but if that criticism comes from Bosnian political and religious leaders, it will have a positive effect. My duty is to criticise radicalisation within my population. We must all make such efforts to ensure that we have the political preconditions to fight against terrorism, and better co-operation between the intelligence services. I hope that we will continue to deal with that, because it is a common interest. The second issue is foreign fighters. The importance of citizens of countries of the region who have travelled to countries such as Syria and Libya to fight cannot be overstated. The fact that there are at least a few hundred of them there is a very dangerous development. It is a common problem, which we must tackle together.

As I have said, however, there have been a lot of positive developments in the region. Twenty years ago, one could hardly have imagined that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia would simultaneously chair two of the most important European organisations in the field of security, human rights and the rule of law – the Council of Europe and the OSCE – but that is the reality today. Not only do Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia chair the Council of Europe and the OSCE, but they co-ordinate their activities closely and in a straightforward way to offer the best response to the emerging crises that our continent faces.

Some 60 years ago, the founders of the Council of Europe found the courage and wisdom to build the foundations of this Organisation here in Strasbourg, on the ruins of old Europe, to ensure that all would have peace, stability, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Unfortunately, recent dramatic events – the terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe, the humanitarian disaster in the Mediterranean and the fragile trust in Ukraine – remind us that human rights, democracy and the rule of law cannot and should not be taken for granted. The principles on which the Council of Europe is built are confronted with a crisis of the utmost seriousness, which threatens to shatter peace and stability on our continent. The question is what to do and how to overcome the crisis. The most recent report by the Secretary General on the state of democratic security in Europe gives us part of the answer. We need the full commitment of the member States fully to respect the Convention and the values of this Organisation; the use of the exceptional know-how and soft power of the Council of Europe to intensify the struggle against hatred, intolerance and radicalism; and the full commitment of the member States to ensure that democracy, human rights and the rule of law become an integral part of the European security system.

With that in mind, I express my support for the Committee of Ministers’ recently adopted action plan to fight radicalism and terrorism as well as the adoption of the additional protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism relating to foreign fighters. We are all concerned that many young Europeans, both men and women, are joining terrorist organisations, most notably in Syria and Iraq. It is disturbing to think that such people number in the thousands. I therefore use this opportunity to invite all member States to sign the additional protocol as soon as possible. I strongly believe that the protocol should be open for signature in the coming months. The problems that we face today transcend international borders, meaning that they cannot be solved by individual countries. Only by working together in close co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe can member States successfully tackle such challenges.

The Assembly, a direct representative of 800 million citizens, has an important role to play. Your activity in the establishment of the alliance of parliamentarians against hate speech, recent debates on discrimination in Europe, radicalism and terrorism, cybercrime and the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean and the decision to establish the status of partner for democracy for parliamentary delegations from neighbouring regions confirm your political wisdom and sense of momentum to react in a timely fashion. Since its foundation, the Council of Europe has amassed a magnificent system of conventions covering all walks of life. With the European Court of Human Rights and the unique system monitoring the implementation of its judgments, the Organisation has positioned itself as a global reference point in the domain of human rights. I want the European Union to resolve its procedural difficulties soon in order to become a contracted party to the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Commission for Democracy through Law – the Venice Commission – is a renowned international authority in the domain of constitutional law and its recommendations are sought after and applied even outside of Council of Europe member States.

Over the past two decades, Europe has experienced huge political and institutional shifts. Despite those challenges, the Council of Europe, with its three main pillars of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, continues to have an important impact on the institutional architecture of our continent. It also regularly adapts itself to the circumstances and events of any given era and remains open to new ideas and co-operation with other European and international organisations. Today, 66 years after the inception of the Council of Europe, the threats to peace and stability may have taken on a different form, but the answer remains the same: human rights, democracy and the rule of law and respect for others and those who are different. Let us wisely use the capital that our predecessors have built up over the past seven decades in our best interests and those of future generations.


Thank you. Several colleagues want to ask questions. I call Mr Juratovic, who speaks on behalf of the Socialist Group. You have 30 seconds.

Mr JURATOVIC (Germany) (interpretation)

Bosnia and Herzegovina aspires to join the European Union, which we welcome, but the country is currently in a difficult situation of nationalist democracy. In such a situation, personal rights should prevail over collective rights – I refer to Sejdic and Finci, for example – but young people in particular have no prospects. How long will people remain hostages to this situation? Are you sure that the political elite in Bosnia and Herzegovina really want to join the European Union?

Secondly, boundaries in Europe cannot be changed, so Bosnia and Herzegovina has to live with its neighbours, which means that there must be mutual trust and reconciliation. On 11 July, will you be in Srebrenica apologising for the massacre or will you deny it? Will you encourage the Serbian Prime Minister Vucic to be present with you?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

You have asked a lot of questions, so I will need time to give my real opinion. First, the real solution for Bosnia is a fine balance between ethnic and civic approaches. We cannot have a single, simple solution. The answer lies somewhere in between. If you are a member of the smallest ethnic group, you will fear for your identity, which is the case in Bosnia – Bosnians among the Serb majority or Serbs among the Bosnian majority. We have to find solutions in order to preserve identity and no one will accept separation. The real trick is somewhere in between. We need a fair solution based on compromise that will eliminate all fears. I honestly believe that we can find such a solution.

The Dayton Agreement gave us a framework and politicians who are ready to make a compromise will always find a solution – if they want to. If they do not want to, a most beautiful piece of paper with “constitution” as its title is not a solution. Nobody will implement an idealistic piece of paper. The real trick for Bosnia is to be ready for the compromise, to understand the other side and its fears, to find a normal, realistic solution and to deal with matters on which we can agree and not disagree. Previous politicians took tough positions to get elected, so we also have to change ourselves. I believe that that is possible, but we cannot expect an idealistic political system in Bosnia these days. I believe in it, but it will require new generations that are not so close to the war and to the current situation. I am against a big bang approach as it would put us back in a situation with three different visions of the same country. I do not want that. I want to deal with issues on which we can agree in order to improve the lives of all citizens in Bosnia.

There was no need to ask your second question, because I was in Srebrenica 10 years ago when I was minister of foreign affairs. We will see what will happen this time because, as you know, there is a crisis. Due to the arrest of Mr Oric, it is even possible that there will be no event. I did my duty 10 years ago when it was more difficult, but I have always said that such events must be about real respect for the victims and not about politics. They have been misused by all sides from time to time. Once we really and honestly go there in order to pay respect to the innocent victims, the event may be able to unite us. If it is politicised, as it is currently, it will be just a mechanism for further division. I am against that and will never take part in such activities. Mr Vucic is a serious politician and does not need my advice about what to do.

Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania)

Mr Chairman, I remember you from many years back, since I have been working with your country. You have already said something I wanted to hear but I want to add to that. We as politicians are dreamers, and one of my dreams is to have you not only in your presidency but in the leadership here, so let us imagine that you are the leader of the Council of Europe. Your country’s experience is very painful, so what could you as leader of the Council of Europe suggest from your experience to solve our problems in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine or Russia?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

It is difficult for me to give advice, but based on our experience I would say do not postpone finding a solution, because sometimes when you do that, the solution will never come. Also, the solution is to be found somewhere in between people’s positions – nobody will be completely happy and nobody will be completely unhappy. In conflicts, only these solutions can work, and it is important that there is a beginning point. Later there will be some further reforms and new solutions will be found, but if the search for a solution is postponed it can be very difficult to find one, and it might take decades. So, get involved, try to understand all sides, and find a solution that is in between. Our experience is that that can work. We are not an ideal society, but it is working and the people live more or less normally now. We need more jobs, but there was a framework which has given us a chance.

Mr BINLEY (United Kingdom)

Mr Chairman, I appreciate your administration’s efforts to support citizens’ movements, which hopefully will assist democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. What plans to do you have in general to encourage further citizens’ movements in their endeavours, and what actions in particular might your administration take to help achieve greater investment not only in your nation but in the DITA factory in Tuzla which your citizens’ movements have recently moved back into production with the agreement of the bankruptcy trustees?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Last year, Bosnia was faced with huge protests and for the first time since the war the reason was not political or ethnic, but economic. They were really quite serious protests for the first time, and there are both positive and negative sides to that. There is pressure on all levels of the government to deliver on the economy, to create jobs and to change the focus from ethnic division to economic development. That was an extremely important message. People are tired of the old subjects. They desperately need something new and positive in their daily life. They need better schools and more jobs, and they do not want to deal so much with the issues of the past 25 years. This is the main message of that movement, and now all the government are thinking seriously about these things. What has happened at the DITA factory is part of all this. After years, that big factory has started up its production again.

Because of these protests, economic reform is on the agenda. In Bosnia, to agree about something is not so easy, but after the last elections we agreed on the common statement of the presidency which was approved by all parliamentary party leaders and was unanimously adopted in parliament, and we will, I hope, agree next week about the reform agenda. So there will have been two serious agreements in eight months. That is a positive sign, and it is a result of the pressure of the citizens of Bosnia on the political elite to change the subjects, and to deal not so much with the different constitutional discussions and to focus more on real-life problems – the economy, the lack of jobs, the fact that the younger generation leave. The country will lose that generation very soon if we continue with the same approach. So there is new hope, and we must deliver on that. That is the best possible support we can give this movement.

Ms BECK (Germany) (interpretation)

In 2013, there was a census. To this day, its results have not been published. Can we expect them to be published? We understand that many citizens did not opt for an ethnic category, and this has to do, of course, with the ethnic division of the population. Perhaps we can move on from that, and instead of having division have something that brings us together as citizens and people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the last 20 years, the census was always a very sensitive issue, in my opinion without any specific reason. The results of the census will not have any influence on the Bosnian Constitution. We have three members of the presidency regardless of the census numbers. We have a Council of Ministers which is composed with equal parity regardless of the census. The numbers of MPs from the different entities is not linked to the census, either. So the census does not have a real political influence, but for local politicians it is good to be tough and to fight for their point of view and their interests, because if they represent a majority, they are the key. That is the logic.

The real reason why this has still not been published is simple: how do we count the citizens who have been out of Bosnia for more than six months? Are they citizens or not? That is the main issue now. As always, all sides staked out their position in their corner and now it is difficult to escape from those corners, but I hope we will soon overcome that.

It is all very simple and some first results have already been published. We know roughly what the figures are. There is no big change and I do not understand why there is any dispute, because, as I said, the census will not have any influence on the governmental structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina. So for me this is purely a technical issue for technicians, not politicians. I hope that will be the case, and until now we have not had politicians involved in that discussion.

There is some sort of promise that we can expect the results by the end of this year. I hope that will be the case, especially as representatives of the European statistics institutions are very much involved in this in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mr KOX (Netherlands)

Mr Chairman, we had the pleasure of meeting last year in your country, when I had the honour of chairing the mission to observe your elections. You were still a candidate then, and now you are the chairman, so there is a future for us.

Although the elections were well organised, nearly 50% of citizens did not participate, and many of those who did vote did not think that their votes could influence policy after the elections. I concluded that the growing mistrust of the function of democratic institutions might even threaten the stability of your country. We agree on the need to improve the trust of citizens in your democratic institutions, but that is easier said than done. What is your main focus to overcome this crucial problem for Bosnia?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The turnout in the last Bosnian elections was around 54%, so it is not so small compared with other European countries. Part of the reason is that we compare the number of voters to the number of IDs that we have issued. Some Bosnians outside the country have IDs, but they are employed in other countries, so they will not vote. They have the right to vote because they have IDs, but they are not there because they live in another country. Because of that, the turnout looks lower than it is in reality.

Nevertheless, I agree with your main message that they still do not believe that their vote counts. A lot of people say that everything will remain the same, whether or not they vote. Bosnia is still not really a democratic society, and that is linked to the question of individuals. We have had the individual right to vote only for the past 20 years – just a few elections. There is still the influence of the communist times, when, whether or not people were voting or thinking, everything was the same. We have to convince the people that the institutions are important, because there is still a mentality that believes that the politicians are more important than the institutions.

We need huge reform, and we need the time for that, but I am quite optimistic, because the situation is improving every year. Even the fact that I won after being in opposition for 10 years is, if I may say so, a positive sign. Bosnian society is slowly becoming more politically mature, but we need at least a few more elections before the people understand that this is really important. I hope that I will do my best in that direction.

Mr LE BORGN’ (France) (interpretation)

I would like to question you, Mr Chairman, as both the president of your country and a connoisseur of the Assembly, about the difficulties in implementing judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. It is a recurrent and fundamental question, because it is a challenge for the Council of Europe in so far as it affects our very credibility. What are your proposals on this matter, and will it be a priority of your country’s chairmanship?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Whether or not we like the decisions, we have to implement them. That has to be a basic rule. Bosnia and Herzegovina has received some decisions that even I do not like, but if we break the rule, there is no sense in this institution existing. If some countries can say no, what is the basis for the existence of the Council of Europe? My position, therefore, is that we have to follow the rule.

I had to implement some decisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina that were not acceptable to me at the time, but it is simply the rule, and we have to stick to it, without exceptions. The Sejdic and Finci case was one of the most important decisions for us, and it was painful, difficult, sensitive and very challenging for us politicians. Perhaps some of us who implement that judgment will not be re-elected, but we have to do it because it is the basic rule of this institution. We simply have to do our best in that respect.

I ask all parliamentarians to go home and ask the authorities in your countries to implement all the decisions. No one else can send that message in the countries that have not so far implemented the Court’s decisions.

Mr MANNINGER (Hungary)

We welcome the efforts of the chairmanship in the field of intercultural dialogue, the religious dimension of which is of the utmost importance. Will you summarise the chairmanship’s priorities and activities in this field, and how the young generation will be involved?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

For us, this is important for two reasons. The precondition for political stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina is good relations between the different religious communities. I must say that we have had a positive development there, which was perhaps most visible when the Pope visited Sarajevo. His visit was welcomed by the leaders of all four main religious communities in Sarajevo. Since we have those religions across Europe, we believe that such good relations are a precondition for the political stability of Europe. We have problems with the radicalisation of different religious communities, which we have to prevent. The best way to do so is to discuss it and understand the other side. That is why we decided to hold a conference in Sarajevo to emphasise the need for better understanding as a precondition for political stability not only in Europe but for us. So we were a little selfish in having that priority.

Ms MULIC (Croatia)

I have two questions. First, as a member of the presidency elected by some Serbian constituents, what is your position on Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik’s continuing calls for an independent Republika Srpska and the dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Secondly, next month we will remember 20 years since the Srebrenica genocide. There is a Serbian arrest warrant out for Naser Oric, the commander of the defence of Srebrenica, who has already been before a tribunal in The Hague, so he has basically been imprisoned under Serbian law that is not in accordance with international law. What is your comment on that?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Let me start with the second question on the Naser Oric case. For one community, Oric is a hero; for another community, he committed a war crime. How can we have a common approach? It is very difficult. Oric was arrested in Switzerland. I do not think that any of us can influence the Swiss judiciary. It is independent, and it will make a decision based on the arguments. Who can influence it? I think this is an artificially created problem. If we influenced the judiciary in any case involving individuals from all sides, we would never deliver anybody. Can you imagine how many cases we would have in the future?

I have not commented on this case during the past 20 years because I really believe that if politicians start to make such comments, it will be the end. This is purely a judicial matter that has to be solved by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Justice, the Swiss Minister of Justice and the Serbian Minister of Justice. For politicians, the best way to create an atmosphere is to say, “I am a tough defender of my people.” Because of such a position, we cancelled the visit of the Serbian President to Bosnia and Herzegovina. For me, it is always better to speak directly about the problems, not to take such steps. Doing so might be welcomed by your people, Ms Mulic, but it would create a very negative atmosphere in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I think it is best not to say what I think about Milorad Dodik given my position. I have to say that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we still have three different views on its future. If it is the view from Sarajevo, it is Bosnia without the entities. If it is the view from Banja Luka and the Serbs, it is an independent Republika Srpska. If it is the view from the Bosnian Croats, it is perhaps a third entity. If you ask the people separately, those will be their answers. Such answers are not realistic – they would create a war again – so we have to find a compromise. We need to speak not about that, but about the economy: can we export milk to the European Union or not, how can we create better perceptions of the country and how can we encourage investment?

I will never be put in the position of having what we could call old-time discussions about who is for this and who is for that. I will always try to find a solution in between. I will protect my people, but I will never attack the other ethnic groups. We have that in common – I cannot protect the identity of my people by not co-operating with the others – and this is the solution. Nobody can expect me not to be a Serb, because I am a Serb, but I think that we can find a compromise. If we are to think about the future and have a normal life, we must not make ourselves so important that everything has to depend on us.

You can see in my statements the various influences of this Assembly, and that I am trying to be quite strict in my answers.

Ms PASHAYEVA (Azerbaijan)

You were in Azerbaijan two weeks ago, Mr President. Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina have friendly relations and various common projects. I sincerely thank the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the resolution adopted by the House of Peoples on the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and the Khojaly massacre, and on recognising and respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Can we expect the active participation of your country in resolving this conflict during Bosnia and Herzegovina’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

We are trying to be a friend of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. We have really good relations with both countries. I was recently in Baku for the opening ceremony of the European Games. I have to say that quite a few positive projects are supported by Azerbaijan. In particular, the investment to create at the inter-entity border line a company that will employ people from all three ethnic groups is quite a positive sign. At the same time, we have quite good relations with Armenia, which we are trying to develop even more.

My real opinion is that we may be able to help. Small countries faced with a conflict are not always strong enough to deliver a solution, but since we do not have any hidden agenda, perhaps sharing our experience will help them to find a solution. However, the final implementation of such a solution is, in the end, for the two countries. As long as there is no agreement between these countries, nobody else can impose a solution, and especially not Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a relatively small country and is not that influential. We will continue to develop good relations with them and to do our best to find a solution, because that is in the best interests of us all, but especially of the citizens of these two countries.

Mr HANŽEK (Slovenia)

According to information from various non-governmental organisations, the leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina have consistently failed to implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. One well-known example is the case of Sejdic and Finci of 2009. A similar one is the judgment in the Zornic case. In its recommendation in the last interim compliance report, the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) characterised the very low level of compliance as “globally unsatisfactory”. There are reports from various international organisations about daily pressures on the media. Mr President, please could you explain to us what the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina are doing to improve the situation and to meet minimum standards of human rights?

Mr Ivanić, President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

You have heard my general opinion and general strategy on the Sejdic and Finci case. I am more optimistic that we will implement the decision, because there is a price: Bosnia’s status as a candidate country. That condition did not exist before.

Yes, we do have some other problems on minority rights and human rights generally. For example, how can it be that hundreds of Serb students cannot learn in the Serbian language in their communities in the federation, and, vice versa, some Bosnian students cannot go to school and learn their language? Some will say that that is because of money and lack of resources, which is the case, and some will say that it is a political decision, but the issue exists, and we still have to solve it.

I agree that media freedom is not very good in Bosnia, but that is a common responsibility. The managers of all public services are appointed with the agreement of the international representatives in Bosnia. At the time, that was seen as positive and democratic. The managers had some sort of political approval from the High Representative and the team there. Also, politicians in Bosnia simply use the media as a tool to be re-elected. I am against that approach, but that is the reality.

For the first time, we have invited the OSCE representative on media freedom to visit. She is from Bosnia, and the only country where she was not involved was Bosnia. It is only thanks to the new government that she has been invited. That is part of the solution. It is not perfect, but we have an interest in supporting that work and continuing with it, because it is in our best interest to have human rights at the highest possible level. I will do my best in that. Young people in the public gallery and in Bosnia have to have the chance to live in a normal society. I cannot guarantee the best situation, but I can guarantee that I will do my best.


Thank you very much, Chairman of the Presidency. I thank you on behalf of everyone for how you answered the questions. You were outspoken in recognising that you have problems in your country and that you have to find solutions together. We will support you in finding those solutions.

I particularly appreciated your strong commitment to the principles of implementing the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. That is what we all have to do. You were a member of the Assembly, and that helps us all in understanding what the Council of Europe is about. Thank you very much, Chairman. We wish you all the best personally, but above all for your country and your citizens.