The Socialists and Democrats will demand a stronger engagement of the European Union to protect the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the group has announced prior to the Parliament's plenary session on Tuesday evening, which will discuss the situation in Bosnia.
The MEPs gathered in the S&D group have warned that the country is in a “deep political crisis, which could even lead to the break-up of the country.”
They stressed that Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Milorad Dodik is “pushing a separatist agenda”, has been boycotting the state-level institutions and announcing a plan to create parallel institutions in the entity, including the army.
Twenty-five years after the war, the country is on the “brink of the collapse,” group vice-president Pedro Marques warned.
“The separatist and genocide-denying Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik is threatening to withdraw Republika Srpska from BiH. This could mark a return to the violence of the 1990s. A scenario that we must avoid.”
He criticised the EU for not being active enough to clam this crisis, while “leaders with authoritarian inclinations like Victor Orban or Janez Jansa” were meeting or paying visits to Dodik “as a sign of support for his nationalistic stances.” Marques warned that they were “playing with fire” and assessed it as “unacceptable.”
“The European Union cannot remain silent. It must play a much stronger role and use all instruments at its disposal, including pressure and sanctions, to preserve BiH’s territorial integrity, unity and peace. As the Socialists and Democrats we reaffirm our strong support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as its European future in the EU.”
MEP Dietmar Koester, S&D member and shadow rapporteur on BiH, who recently paid a visit to Bosnia alongside MEP Tineke Strik, said that the tensions in the country are “enormous.”
He assessed this was “no doubt the worst political crisis since the Dayton Peace Accords” and that the “one person responsible for this is Milorad Dodik.”
“His aim is to dismantle Bosnia-Herzegovina’s state-level institutions and create their own army, their own judiciary and their own indirect taxation system for the Republika Srpska.”
He also emphasised the disappointment of Bosnian citizens with and the declining trust in the EU.
“They expect more concrete actions to stabilise the state. The EU has to strengthen a democratic approach where everyone, no matter what their ethnic background is, must have the same rights. Civil society needs to be involved in the process of change, especially in the institutional and electoral reforms, which would be very important for the elections next year. We must support BiH to hold an equal, free and fair election,” said the MEP and concluded:
“A secession planned by the political class of Republika Srpska cannot be accepted. To support the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the state based on values and democracy, the EU should impose targeted sanctions on the political class of Republika Srpska.”