France has a much bigger problem with potential jihadists returning from Syrian and Iraqi battlefields than Bosnia and when the French President called Bosnia’s a “ticking time-bomb” he was only trying to justify a decision to stop countries with a Muslim majority from joining the EU, spokesperson of Bosnia’s Islamic Community, Muhamed Jusic, argued on Friday.
In an interview with The Economist published on Thursday, France’s Emmanuel Macron said that Bosnia is a major concern in the Balkans.
“If you're concerned about this region, the first question is neither Macedonia, nor Albania, it's Bosnia and Herzegovina. The time-bomb that's ticking right next to (the EU member) Croatia, and which faces the problem of returning jihadists,” Macron said, referring to escaped or released Islamic State fighters who could return to Europe.
The Croat member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, immediately summoned France’s ambassador in the country for a meeting over the controversial statement.
Jusic reacted with a Facebook post, citing figures.
“Some 300 citizens, mostly women and children, have departed for Syrian-Iraqi battlefields from Bosnia and Herzegovina, while more than 1,900 have done so from France – double the number of any other western European country. These days it is expected that more than 450 of them will return to France,” Jusic wrote.
He wrote that the problem of fighters returning from Syrian-Iraqi battlefields is “a serious challenge for most European countries” but that he does not understand “why it would be treated as only a problem for Bosnia.”
“Justifying the decision to stop the European path for countries with a Muslim majority in the Balkans, as well as to stop the overall EU enlargement with such made-up claims, is more than scandalous,” he wrote.