Croatia’a prime minister said that the country will proceed with building a bridge to connect the northern and southern provinces, despite the objections from Bosnia.
Speaking at a session of his government, prime minister Andrej Plenković said that the Pelješac bridge, named after the Croatian peninsula, will be finished: “Once again, I tell our friends in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian public that the project of connecting Croatia’s south with the rest of the country, but also connecting the territory of the European (Union), goes on. The bridge will be built; the dialogue with Bosnia and Herzegovina continues. We discussed that at the July session of the (Bosnian) Council of Ministers and the Croatian government in Sarajevo.”
The Pelješac bridge is supposed to connect Croatia’s Dubrovnik to the south with the country’s north. The territory is split by a strip of Bosnian coast and the town of Neum. Bosnian officials that oppose the construction of the bridge argue that Neum would be cut off from international waters if the bridge is built.
Bosnian minister of civil affairs, Adil Osmanović, threatened this week that Bosnia will pull out from the 1999 border agreement with Croatia if the Pelješac bridge was built. Minister Osmanović sent a letter to Croatia’s minister of sea, transportation and infrastructure, arguing that the bridge construction should be put on hold until the legal arguments are settled. The letter was also sent to the European Union officials and the international overseer of the peace agreement implementation in Bosnia.
Bosnian opposition to the Pelješac bridge is not uniform, however. While most Bosniak officials want the construction plans cancelled, Bosnian Croat officials are generally supportive of the Croatian government’s intention to build the bridge, and Bosnian Serb officials don’t seem to be invested in the issue.
The European Commission said in June that €357 million from EU cohesion policy funds will be made available for the bridge and the supporting infrastructure, with completion scheduled for 2022.