Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic called on the European Union member states to approve the candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and postpone for a one-year period after the October elections the requirement of 14 priorities that European Commission set in response to the country's 2016 membership application.
“The candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina is the last chance that could redirect the forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina and protect not only us but the entire Western Balkans region and Europe from the conflict spill-over effect,” said Turkovic in Brussels on Monday during a meeting of Western Balkan countries’ FMs and their EU counterparts.
“There is no doubt that the whole region share its part of consequences of the unjustified and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine. It is no surprise that we see European integration as the strongest factor in ensuring the stability and prosperity of every country in the region,” she added.
Turkovic also noted that the EU has shown an “unprecedented level of unity and determination” following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and demonstrated in practice the potential and strength it can have as a global actor.
She assessed the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina as “deeply concerning,” pointing out the blocked reform processes and a series of secessionist moves that have been made unilaterally at the entity level with an aim to destabilise the country.
“Do not be deceived by optics. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina met on several occasions, and although it appears to be functioning, there has been no progress in discussing substantive issues. The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina held several extraordinary sessions, discussing a small number of materials. More than 700 materials are still awaiting discussion and adoption,” the minister stressed, adding that in order to make progress Bosnia and Herzegovina needs fully functioning institutions.
She warned that these circumstances are used to exert more pressure on the need to protect the rights of three major ethnic groups in the country, while the rights of the others not identifying with these remain unfulfilled.
“What about the equal rights? What about European standards? Who is pushing us back to the divisions of history? People are scared and desperately searching for a signal which direction to take. We need your help. EU can get stronger only by helping the people to find their path forward. If not, that is going to be a blow to the EU as well,” Turkovic underlined.