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News 29 Dec 17

Bosnia Federation Enters New Year Without Budget

Bosnia's Federation entity looks likely to start 2018 without a budget as a result of chronic disputes between the ruling parties in the mainly Bosniak and Croat entity.

Mladen Lakic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Parliament of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Photo: Parliament of Federation

Due to the crisis between the Federation entity's ruling parties, the [Bosniak] Party of Democratic Action, SDA, the Alliance for Better Future of Bosnia and the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia, HDZ BiH, no budget for 2018 has been adopted by the entity as yet. No budget has been adopted at state level, either.

It means that for the first three months of the new year, temporary measures will have to be used to allow the entity to function.

“Temporary measures in this case means that only basic necessities can be resolved, such as salaries and pensions, while everything else ... will be on hold,” Marko Grujic, professor of economy, told BIRN.

A decision on using temporary measures for financing should be declared by the entity government, but any such decision needs to be adopted first by parliament.

The Alliance for Better Future of Bosnia, one of the ruling parties, said it blamed the other two parties for this situation.

“Relations between the SDA and HDZ BiH are the only reason why we do not have budget even though we wanted to vote for it,” Nasir Beganovic, an MP, told BIRN.

At the latest session of parliament for 2017, on December 28, no agenda was adopted since HDZ MPs refused to participate.

Bosnian Croats have been angered by proposals to ban the term "Herzeg-Bosna" from the names of public companies in Bosnia's Federation entity, as BIRN has reported.

The name refers to a short-lived autonomous Bosnian Croat entity in the 1990s, which some Croats look back to with nostalgia.

“It is a paradox that the ruling parties, the SDA, SBB and the HDZ, do not want to support the budget proposal for 2018,” the opposition leftist Democratic Front said, accusing all three ruling parties of causing chaos in the entity.

“This shows us what the ruling coalition thinks about citizens here, because in this situation they [the politicians] are the only one who will benefit from this,” it stated.

“It is understandable that opposition MPs vote against the budget proposal, but the HDZ is part of the ruling coalition, and the question of the budget is something that we need to work out together,” Ismet Omanovic, an SDA MP, told the media after the last assembly session.

At the moment, only Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, has adopted a budget for 2018.

“This is new step in the ongoing crisis in the Federation as well on the state level," Ivana Maric, a political analyst, told BIRN.

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