Borrell on possibility of further escalation of situation in Bosnia

NEWS 16.03.2022 17:26
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Source: F.Z./N1

European Commission will recommend Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council once the critical reforms have been implemented, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell told media, answering to the question about Bosnia's request for accelerated procedure of granting the country the EU candidate status. He also said he does not want to give any negative forecast regarding the situation in BiH but would rather work on avoiding that from happening.

“The requirements have to be fulfilled and there are 14 key priorities in which reforms have to be implemented in order to allow the Council to take a decision by unanimity. We continue to ask for these reforms to be implemented as quickly as possible, because only a clear, positive signal that Bosnia and Herzegovina is determined to take forward the reforms needed on its European path, will bring the country to the candidacy, closer to the European Union,” said Borrell during his visit to Sarajevo on Wednesday where he visited the EU military forces’ camp and met with the country's top officials and political representatives.

Bosnian Foreign Minister published on Tuesday Borrell's response to the request for the accelerated procedure of granting the country the EU candidate status, which she addressed earlier this month. He did not directly respond to the request but reiterated the necessity to implement key reforms from the European Commission's Opinion on the membership application that BiH submitted in 2016.

Borrell was asked on Wednesday what would be his response in case the situation escalates any further in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to which he replied that he does not want to give any negative forecast.

“I prefer to work in order to avoid any escalation before trying to answer on what would happen if this happens. I prefer to work on avoiding that from happening,” he said.

The EU official also answered to the questions regarding the electoral reform in the country, noting that this would be discussed with the authorities during his visit.

However, he added, he “cannot – and I do not want and I cannot even if I wanted – impose anything.”

“It is up to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their political representatives to reach the necessary agreements in order for the law to pass through the Parliament,” stressed Borrell.

“I know that yesterday at the [European] Parliament there was a discussion – a very lively discussion. We need to have lively discussions – honest, frank discussions – in order to get agreements. Because that is what the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina need in order to continue being one country with two entities and three constituent people. This has to be safeguarded, and everybody has to have the opportunity of participating in the political life of this country on an equal basis. That is what we want to contribute to do, but it is not me who is going to dictate the solution. I only can help, support, contribute to the necessary agreement between the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he oncluded.

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