Tuesday, October 21, 2008


BRUSSELS, Belgium (October 21,2008) - Olli Rehn: The year 2009 is going to become the year of EU membership opportunities for all southeastern European states, according to Olli Rehn, Member of the European Commission (EC), responsible for EU enlargement.

The fact that the Lisbon Treaty failed to become effective was not going to become an obstacle for the EU to accept new countries, Rehn believes.

He further said that it was most likely that negotiations about the membership of Croatia, which began in 2005, would conclude in 2009, adding that Croatia was going to be approved as member after it fulfils all criteria and that Zagreb still had a lot to do in reforming the country's legal system and in the fight against corruption and organized crime.

The EC also expects positive results from the negotiations with Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - The charismatic far-right Austrian politician Jörg Haider died recently in a car accident.He caused the accident by driving twice as fast as the speed limit. Although there is an old proverb instructing us to “speak only the best about dead people,” Haider’s tragic demise stirred a part of my mind already anxious enough about a phenomenon that is threatening the future of my country, my city, my environment and, consequently, the future of my own family.

The problem is intolerance, racism and fascism, which are a growing menace in Central and Eastern Europe that we identify only when we hear news of violent assaults or about the promoters of such ideologies.

Haider himself did not hide that he derived his political philosophy from Nazi Germany. He used to describe the Nazi SS troops as patriots and would belittle the Holocaust. The European Union even imposed sanctions against Austria in 2000 in a protest over his party’s role in the government.

There are such discredited politicians and various far-right, racist, fascist and neo-Nazi movements and parties in other European countries as well, even represented in parliaments. It is one of the accompanying consequences of the ideological vacuum left by the fall of communist regimes in Eastern Europe.

The German newspaper die tageszeitung stresses that “a seething ideological mix came to the fore in many countries, made up of anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes, nationalist prejudices and elements such as militant anti-communism, revisionist ambitions and a vengeful fundamentalism.” Anti-Islamic activity has become part of the agenda of those movements in recent times.

Fascist movements in the southeastern Europe are obsessed by the nation as a supreme power and fascinated with religion, particularly Christianity. They often choose sporting events and popular music as their sphere of action.

Some pro-Nazi groups in the genocidal Serbia, like National Alignment, did not succeed last week in undermining an anti-fascist meeting in Belgrade. Dozens of their members were arrested last year during protests against the independence of Kosovo and because of their attacks against Albanians and Roma on their graffiti and posters. Two Israeli citizens were beaten in Belgrade by a group of “white power skinheads” wearing Nazi symbols. In fact, ultranationalists and radicals in Serbia are mostly focused on Kosovo, but the spirit of violence and national fanaticism, often supported by the Orthodox Church, could easily be included in a wider fascist scope.

Neo-Nazism in Croatia is often identified with neo-ustashism. Ustashe, the Croatian equivalent of the Nazis, were armed forces of the Independent State of Croatia, which was created and supported by Hitler and consisted of Croatia and Bosnia. Croatian ultranationalists still consider the ustashe patriots and their commanders heroes, equating them with the anti-fascist Tito’s partizans. The anti-Serb hatred, inherited from World War II, is a permanent issue for Croatian nationalists that erupts especially at football matches and the pop concerts of the controversial Croatian fascist singer Marko Perkovic Thompson. His audience,there were 60,000 in the Croatian capital Zagreb alone,usually raises their hands in a fascist salute. Even Catholic bishops sing ultranationalist fascist songs, and the Croatian fascist slogan “Srbe na vrbe” (Hang Serbs on the willow trees!) is being repeated after more than half a century.

The well-known Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic warned recently in London’s Guardian about the split that such national, religious and racial hatred causes in her country. However, she was met with harsh and orchestrated criticism for “insulting the nation.”

And what can be said about Bosnia?The aggression against its independence in 1992,initiated by the genocidal Serbia,and the genocide against the Bosnian people committed by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia was simply an extreme fascism.

The Bosnian media these days quote the former US ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, who said in a program called “How wars end” on Public Radio International that Serbians living in Bosnia are “fascists, genocidal fascists.”

From the other side, Croatian fascists still regret that the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the 1990s failed. They apply their ideology on the Croatians living in Bosnia. They sometimes use curious means, like what happened last year during a football match in Bosnia: Croatian fans formed the letter “U” in the stadium -symbolizing the above described Croatian fascists known as "Ustashe".

Hungary’s image in the EU was stained last year when it revived the Magyar Garda (Hungarian Guard). A pro-Nazi party with the same name ruled Hungary at the end of World War II and today the group is closely associated with the far-right party Jobbik, which has representatives on dozens of city councils.

“The founding of the Hungarian Guard,” Die Welt wrote, “is an alarming sign of sickness in a society, in which barriers to the glorification of violence, racism and intolerance are being torn down and where there are increasing attempts to undermine the already weak institutions of democracy.” It could be a “nucleus of a racist paramilitary army,” the German daily warned.

In other European countries, there are also activities of more-or-less fascist and pro-Nazi parties and movements. In Bulgaria, a country politically and economically stable, a latent nationalism is again coming to the surface. The nationalist Ataka party, consisting mostly of right-wing and ex-communist remnants, won 9 percent of the vote in the 2005 legislative elections, and its leader, Volen Siderov, managed to poll 25 percent in the 2007 presidential elections.

According to the party’s ideological statement, “20 points of Ataka,” Bulgaria is a monolithic, one-nation state, indivisible along ethnic or religious lines. The party attacks the national channel’s broadcast of news in Turkish indirectly, stating that the national language is only Bulgarian and that any ethnic parties should be prohibited. The most notable pro-Nazi organization in Greece is Hrisi Avgi, inspired by the Metaxas quasi-fascist dictatorship put in place by Hitler during the German occupation from 1940-1944. Its members launched a series of riots, especially in football fields. Their targets are mostly Albanian migrants and the Macedonian minority.

It is worth mentioning that many Greek fascists participated in the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, helping the genocidal Serbian aggressor mass murder some 10,000 Bosnian civilians from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995.

It has to be noted that they are a small island in the large sea of anti-fascist, liberal and democratic movements and parties. They represent 1-10 percent of the population in most European countries.But what could happen tomorrow? Nobody can predict where this financial chaos, initiated in America, is leading all of us. And it is important to remember that Hitler and Mussolini built their power starting with a few percent of the popular vote and just on the eve of a large global economic crisis.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - The process of refugee return is not successful in Bosnia, regardless the fact that it has positive sides. No one controlled money that was invested for solving the issues of refugees and displaced persons but that money was spent without partially and in an unknown way; it was pointed out by the President of the Bosnian union of associations of refugees, displaced persons and returnees (SIRL) Mirhunisa Zukic.

She, at the press-conference in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka, pointed out that that responsibility for the fact that refugee return was still not finished and that the problems of refugees and displaced persons are not solved is on the countries that signed the Dayton Peace Agreement and that were responsible for implementing that document and they did not do it.

She reminded that the rights of refugees, displaced persons and returnees were enabled and protected with the Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Agreement but the commission and the means fund that would guarantee compensation and return.

"International organizations directed us in other direction and therefore we got a complete non-coordination between domestic and international organizations”, Zukic pointed out. She also pointed out that therefore we have today completely exclusive ethnic areas in Bosnia and that there is almost no return in urban areas.

Zukic also talked about what SIRL did so far, pointing out that it was lobbied out for 307 000 houses to be reconstructed from the funds of domestic institutions and international organizations which makes 68 per cent of the total devastated housing fund in our country.

There are still 145.000 houses in Bosnia that were not reconstructed but only 43.000 housing units are recorded in the data base.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - The Bosnian trade exchange total amounted to 2,093,300,000 Bosnian Marks in September, it has been announced by the Bosnian State Statistics Agency. Export accounted for 616 billion Bosnian Marks or 29.5 per cent of that and import for 1.5 billion Bosnian Marks or 70.5 per cent. The export/import ratio was 41.8 per cent.

The nine-month export was worth around 5 billion Bosnian Marks, or 16.7 per cent more than same time last year, while import was up by 22.3 per cent and worth to 12 billion Bosnian Marks. During the same period, the export/import ratio was 41.7 per cent, and Bosnia’s trade deficit reached 7 billion Bosnian Marks.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - The current week started well for the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE), bringing new increase to stock prices and indexes. All ten shares from the main index were traded yesterday, with only one closing in the negative – IK banka (-0.44 per cent).

Investors were putting most of their money on the Sarajevo tobacco factory (FDS) share (+7.62 per cent), whose value traded exceeded BAM 0.5 million.

The total turnover was 1,905,085 Bosnian Marks, the number of transactions was 357 and the number of shares traded 98,960. Sarajevo Postbanka saw the highest daily growth with 9.96 per cent, while Elektropromet Banovici lost the most (-1.84 per cent).

BIFX (funds) was 1.84 per cent in the positive and SASX-10 gained 6.06 per cent.