Crisis hikes Bosnian prices

SARAJEVO (AP) – The biggest political crisis since the end of the Bosnian war 12 years ago has sent the cost of basic food items rocketing, and government statistics show most people are struggling just to make ends meet. Bosnian media reported Friday that many food items are now more expensive in Bosnia than in Germany, even though the average monthly income is far lower. The daily Dnevni Avaz said that since the end of September the price of butter has gone up by more than 65 percent. According to the Bureau of Statistics, the monthly cost of living for a family of four was -610 in October, including -302 for food alone. The average salary for the same month was -333 and the pension just -146, it said. «I need more than I earn now. My salary is -400 and monthly costs exceed -600, so you do the math,» said Dzenan Pridzekovic, a 44-year-old electrician in Sarajevo. About 40 percent of the Bosnian population is unemployed and those lucky enough to have a job struggle to make ends meet, receiving their salaries sometimes with several months’ delay. «Prices will continue rising because nobody in politics is dealing with the economy,» said economic expert Svetlana Cenic. Bosnian politicians are dealing with a political crisis that has scared the population that came out of a devastating war just a decade ago. Bosnia’s two mini-states are in conflict over the future of the country, with the Bosniak-Croat federation pushing for unification and the Serb Republic for as much autonomy as it can get. Too often, this quarrel blocks joint institutions completely. The country often falls into political crises, but the recent one seems to be the most serious. It was sparked last month when Lajcak proposed new rules designed to strengthen the ability of the central Bosnian parliament and government to enact reforms that could eventually lead to Bosnian membership in the European Union.