According to the leader of the strongest Bosniak party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has on Wednesday repeatedly asked BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik to stop the process of transferring state competencies to BiH’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity.
“Borrell repeatedly asked Dodik to unblock the institutions and give up on what is being done in the RS National Assembly. Thus, to stop the process of returning competencies to the entity level. And he was persistent on this,” Izetbegovic said.
The process Izetbegovic was referring to is at the centre of the major political crisis that has been ongoing in BiH for months.
The National Assembly of BiH’s Serb-majority RS entity has in December last year expressed support for Dodik’s initiative to unilaterally roll back post-war reforms that lead to the establishment of many state institutions. Dodik’s plan is for the RS to withdraw from those institutions, including the army, tax authority and judicial institutions, and to create its own, separate ones.
“Borrell said precisely that these things should be stopped and that they should not be pursued,” Izetbegovic said.
Izetbegovic said that Dodik promised that there would be no talk of secession of the RS from the state and that he would respect the BiH Constitution the way he understood it. According to Izetbegovic, Dodik also said he will do anything to protect the peace.
Izetbegovic said that some progress was made regarding negotiations on BiH’s election law, arguing that Bosnia’s Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) has agreed to discuss reducing the competencies of the House of Peoples so its only function is to protect the vital national interest of ethic groups.
Izetbegovic stressed that Borrell also insisted on BiH aligning with the EU’s position on Ukraine.