Instability plays into the hands of the extremists
Reinhard Backes, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada
ACN, Montreal/Königstein October 7, 2014 – Bosnia-Herzegovina urgently needs reforms and a rapprochement with the European Union. The Bishop of Banja Luka, Franjo Komarica, explained this while talking to staff of the international Catholic pastoral charity “Aid to the Church in Need” (ACN) on October 2.
October 12, people will be going to the polls in the two parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the ten cantons and on a federal level to re-elect the parliaments and the three-member presidency. In the view of observers the economic and the political situation of the country is extremely critical.
Unemployment is more than 50 per cent; nearly three quarters of young adults are unable to find work. Dissatisfaction in the population, comprising three ethnic groups – Bosnians, Croats and Serbs – has grown enormously. The majority reject their own country. Corruption, clientelism and nepotism are widespread
Bishop Komarica is deeply concerned: “We are living in an absurd situation. Bosnia-Herzegovina is not moving forward, either politically or economically. The country has a number of constitutions which obstruct one another. The number of ministers is astronomical, an indulgence which no other allows itself. The people are longing for a new organization of the state.”
Because of the political backlog, lack of legal certainty and growing dissatisfaction, there is the danger. Bishop Komarica believes that parts of the country will become radicalized: “There are people here who could exploit the instability. And we mustn’t ignore the dark clouds arising in the south-east. This region is a region where destructive, radical forces from the Arab world can flourish and they can very easily settle here.”
Before the last Balkan war the people in Bosnia-Herzegovina lived peacefully with one another regardless of their religion or denomination. This fundamental consensus was destroyed by war and violence and has to be reconstructed.
In order to overcome the persistent state of instability, Bishop Komarica believes that a greater commitment on the part of the international community, and specifically the European Union, is absolutely essential.
In his words, the Catholic Church is making a positive contribution in Bosnia-Herzegovina: “We need more justice, reconciliation and willingness to work together. We bishops have therefore invited everyone to go to the polls to cast their vote for law and justice and to make sure the country does not get stuck in this disastrous situation.”
Aid to the Church in Need has been supporting the efforts of the Catholic Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina for years. Between 2008 and 2013, 7.46 million dollars was spent, for the reconstruction of churches and church institutions in particular.