Friday

22nd Sep 2017

Tensions soar as Bosnia is shown to be Muslim country

  • Bosnian Serbs say they will refuse to recognise the new census figures as the basis of power sharing. (Photo: World Bank Photo Collection)

Representatives of the Serbian entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina refuse to recognise a census showing that Bosnian Muslims now constitute a majority of the country’s population.

The census was made in 2013, but results were published on Thursday (30 June) after a lengthy discussion on methodology.

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Serbs claim that about 200,000 Muslim people included in the census actually live abroad.

The EU’s statistics office Eurostat considers the methodology in line with international recommendations.

The new census shows that 50.1 percent of the country's population declares itself as Bosnian Muslim, while 30.8 percent consider themselves Bosnian Serbs. Croats make up another 15.4 percent and the last 2.7 percent don't identify with either of the before mentioned groups.

Results also show the country’s population has shrunk to 3.5 million, a 20 percent drop since 1991 when the country counted 4.4 million inhabitants.

The outcome will likely upset the institutional balance of the country. Government jobs and positions in institutions like the Central Bank are divided among these three ethnic groups according to population quotas.

Serbs have already said they will refuse to recognise the new figures as the basis of power sharing.

The EU insisted that figures should be published.

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Bosnia must publish much-delayed census data before 1 July, otherwise its EU membership bid could be torpedoed. It could radically alter the quota-based governing system put in place after the war.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday formally applied for EU membership, a process that is likely to take years.

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The former Yugoslavia republic said it will formally apply to the EU next Monday. But the country still faces a number of underlying problems that make accession an unrealistic possibility in the short term.

Letter

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