The European Union expects Bosnia and Herzegovina to fully align with the EU on Russia and the country to implement necessary reforms, leaders of opposition parties in BiH said after meeting with EU High Representative, Josep Borrell.
Mirko Sarovic, the leader of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), said that it was clear from the meeting that there will be no financial help from the EU for projects in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity until the situation in the country improves. He argued that this is something that will surely hurt RS citizens.
He said that the return of political representatives from the RS entity to the state institutions was also discussed. RS officials have been boycotting BiH institutions since last year.
The SDS leader said he pointed out at the meeting that talks on implementing reforms defined in the European Commission’s Opinion on BiH’s EU candidate status could bring RS officials back to the table.
However, Sarovic said that “everything seems to be hanging in the air”.
“I’m not sure Borrell understood where he came, he’s completely confused on some things. There is no progress with those who have been leading BiH for the last three years, and a chance for them to leave as soon as possible is the only hope for this country,” he said.
“He did not understand that those he was talking to would deceive and lie to him,” Sarovic said, referring to Borrell’s meeting with the leaders of Bosnia’s strongest three ethnic parties.
Borrell also met on Wednesday with the leaders of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Bakir Izetbegovic, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), Milorad Dodik, and the leader of Bosnia’s Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), Dragan Covic.
Those parties are currently in the ruling coalition, with Dodik serving as one of the tripartite BiH Presidency members, and Covic and Izetbegovic serving in the House of Peoples.
The leader of the opposition Union for a Better Future of BiH (SBB), Fahrudin Radoncic, said the meeting was constructive.
“The messages were as we expected, that the EU will pay more attention to BiH,” he said, adding that Borrell stressed that strategic issues must be resolved, including changes to the election law and the normalisation of Croat-Bosniak relations.
“I believe that this is a good thing today, that it should be an incentive for all of us to complete our obligations earlier and we will continue negotiations on changes to the Election Law tomorrow,” Radoncic said.
The leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Nermin Niksic, said that the EU expects BiH officials to come up with solutions for electoral reform that are in line with European standards.
“We had the opportunity to hear Mr. Borrell, who said very unequivocally that he expects the political leaders of BiH to very clearly express support for the positions of the EU when it comes to aggression against Ukraine. He expects us to work on finding a solution in line with European standards,” Niksic said.
Niksic pointed out that BiH is one of the few countries in the world where state officials have expressed support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Of course, this has an effect on BiH, and a solution must be found with such people in accordance with European standards,” Niksic said.