Bosnian Serb officials who agreed to an action plan the central government adopted in order to continue on the country’s path toward EU membership have betrayed Serb national interests, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik told reporters on Thursday, referring to the Bosnian Serb ministers in the government who are his political rivals.
The ministers are members of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) and the Party for Democratic Progress (PDP), both opposed to Dodik’s Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) that now rules in the Bosnian Serb semi-autonomous entity within the country, Republika Srpska (RS).
Dodik has for years been advocating for the RS to secede from Bosnia and eventually join neighbouring Serbia.
The ministers agreed to adopt the Action Plan for Realization of Priorities stated in the European Commission's (EC) analytical report, which is part of the EC’s Opinion on the country’s application for EU membership, but they did this without the consent of the Republika Srpska Government, Dodik said.
That “is clear evidence of the betrayal of Serbian national and RS interests,” by ministers from the SDS and PDP in a government that is only acting in a technical mandate and adopted the plan in a session over the phone, he said.
Such a decision should have first been approved by the authorities of Republika Srpska, he argued.
“That’s not the way it works,” he said. “It is well known what the coordination mechanism says. They have violated that coordination mechanism and they are working to the detriment of the constitutional setup and the constitutional right of the RS,” he added.
Dodik’s party won the October 2018 state-level election, but since the new government has still not been formed, ministers from opposition parties are still sitting in the central government.
“Our message is that this Action Plan is not valid and I call upon the Government of Republika Srpska to reject it. An action plan cannot be made without all government levels participating,” he said, arguind that the problem lies only in the procedure being violated.
“Again, the news will go out to the world that Republika Srpska is rejecting the Action Plan for the European Union. But we are rejecting it because we were not involved, and we were supposed to be,” he said.
Bosnia’s Foreign Affairs Minister and PDP member, Igor Crnadak, shot back the same day.
Dodik is only pretending to be concerned about the adoption of the Action Plan, he said, noting that his closest political associates, ministers from the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), with which the SNSD entered a political alliance, have also supported it.
“Also, the reason why the Council of Ministers (Bosnia’s government) is holding telephone sessions is that the SNSD is through the HDZ BiH disabling normal sessions from being held,” he said.
“I call upon Dodik to never use the word betrayal again, as the position and the role of Republika Srpska in Sarajevo was never better nor more secure than it was during the past four years,” Crnadak stressed, referring to the past mandate.