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Croatia to back Finland's Nato bid despite President's threats to block application

Croatian President Zoran Milanović had called on his country's parliament to vote against Finland and Sweden joining Nato unless there was electoral reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović.

Croatia has pledged to support any potential application by Finland to join the Nato alliance, the Foreign Ministry has confirmed.

In a tweet (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on Tuesday evening, the ministry said that Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) had discussed the matter with his counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman.

"He confirmed that Croatia supports Nato's open door policy and if Finland decides to apply for the Nato membership, Croatian government and parliament will be in favour of Finland joining," the tweet said.

The discussion followed the widespread reporting of comments made by Croatian President Zoran Milanović , which included a call to his country's parliament to vote against Finland and Sweden joining Nato.

Milanović stated that Croatia's approval of any potential Finnish and Swedish application could be dependent on the reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral law.

In a complicated political system created after the end of war in 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina is made up of two main administrative units that represent the three main ethnic groups — the Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat majority Federation of BiH.

The country’s largest Croatian party, the HDZ, has demanded reforms that would give Bosnia's Croatians more power — calls that have been backed by Milanović and the Croatian government.

In an interview with Index.hr (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Milanović stated that "the Croatian parliament must not ratify any country's Nato membership until Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral law has been amended".

He added however that the decision on Finland or Sweden joining Nato is not in his hands, as it will be made by the Croatian Parliament.

He also said he regrets the fact that Croatia has to interfere with the Nato application of a country "as exemplary as Finland".

If the two Nordic nations decide to apply for membership of the alliance, their applications must be ratified by all 30 current member states. Croatia has been a member of Nato since 2009.