The European Parliament discussed the situation in Bosnia when Rapporteur and MEP Michael Gahler submitted a short report and emphasized that “we must follow the example of the USA and the United Kingdom and sanction [BiH Serb Presidency member] Milorad Dodik".
“BiH is now at a crossroads. After years and years of political deadlock, the political agreement of June 12, in Brussels and the latest conclusions of the Council are a symbol of commitment to the European perspective of BiH. We must not forget about the challenges in the future. The country needs to complete a series of reforms and fulfil the criteria,” Gahler said.
The two main challenges facing Bosnia and Herzegovina are not technical but political, he said.
“The secessionist movement of the Republika Srpska (RS) entity and the political deadlock in negotiations on the reforms needed to bring the country in line with the European acquis. There was a blockade of state institutions and the High Representative and EU-ALTHEA had to react. The Council must follow the example of the USA and the United Kingdom and sanction Dodik. He said he was committed to reforms, but he flew to St. Petersburg and met with Putin,” Gahler noted.
He pointed out that withdrawing from state institutions and creating parallel ones is a violation of the Constitution and the Dayton Agreement which ended the 1002-1995 war in BiH.
“It will prevent any progress towards the EU. We must support ALTHEA and the Office of the High Representative. Their mandates should be renewed or other options should be explored, including NATO. Electoral and constitutional reform has not been carried out despite the great mediation by the USA and EU, because there is no political will”, said Gahler.
MEP Janez Lenarcic said that there is no doubt that BiH has a clear European perspective as a united country.
“But this year was yet another lost year. Instead of concrete progress, we have seen a growing political gap that affects the daily lives of people and businesses. I expect the RS to stop this political crisis and enable the functioning of state institutions. That's the only way the EU will provide their funds,” he said.
“NATO stated that Bosnia and Herzegovina is crucial for the stability of the Western Balkans and the whole of Europe, but we ignored that and were led by our own interests and failed to see what is happening in BiH. Some here are trying to present BiH as a dysfunctional state, but it doesn’t function because of our fault because we were not able to manage their crisis. We should have given them candidate status and helped them fight for the rule of law, fight against corruption, overcome all obstacles and go beyond those local policies that favour our own interests,” said Klemen Groselj.
Tineke Strik said that “Dodik cannot say that he is in favour of BiH's accession to the EU, and at the same time support Putin and try to destroy BiH as a state.”
“Leaders must implement the urgently needed reforms and turn BiH into a well-functioning multi-ethnic state that its citizens deserve,” she said.
Romeo Franz said that “especially now after the aggression against Ukraine, they know that Putin wants to expand his influence on the Western Balkans, especially BiH”.