Daily: Milanovic cannot veto Finland’s and Sweden’s Nato membership bids

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustracija

"Croatian President Zoran Milanovic will not be able to veto Finland's and Sweden's accession to Nato because this will be decided by the ambassadors of member countries, not by the heads of state or government," state agency Hina cited the Jutarnji List daily as saying on Wednesday.

Hina did not attribute the article to any particular journalist.

Croatian media seem to be confused about Nato procedures after President Milanovic continued to insist vehemently that he would veto Croatia’s approval of the two countries’ membership bids, using Croatia’s membership in Nato as an instrument to force the US into changing the election law in Bosnia to the benefit of Bosnian Croats.

The government and the majority of MPs, controlled by the conservative HDZ party, have distanced themselves from Milanovic’s attempts to conect the two issues.

Although head of state is mainly a ceremonial figure in Croatia and all legislation – including international agreements – is voted on and passed by Parliament, the President has to sign off on any new law, effectively handing him the ability to veto any legislation. However, in spite of disseminating Milanovic’s increasingly meandering rants on a daily basis, local journalists seem to be in the dark on whether vetoing future Nato members would even be possible.

“Citing government sources knowledgeable about Nato procedures, the newspaper said that Milanovic is aware that he will not be in a position to veto the two countries’ membership bids because this decision will be made by the North Atlantic Council, which consists of ambassadors from the 28 member states,” Hina said that Jutarnji List said.

Although no media outlet or Milanovic himself seem to be able to find out what are the formal steps in any Nato enlargement procedure, Milanovic’s announcement fueled speculation that this is mere posturing on his part aimed at placating nationalist voters at home and in Bosnia.

“Milanovic is obviously aware of this, because he has said that, in the event that the invitation is extended at a lower level, he might not be able to force the Croatian ambassador to take his position at the Nato Council,” Hina said that Jutarnji List said.