European Union parliamentarians sent a letter to international envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt and EU High Representative Josep Borrell, expressing “gravest concern” with the developments in BiH as well as the steps taken towards secession of Bosnia's Serb-majority entity Republika Srpska. They urged the two officials to condemn those steps “in strong terms” and use the available tools to “bring the nationalist forces in the RS political leadership to reason.”
The letter signed by eight MEPs comes amid the increasing tensions over the announcement by Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Milorad Dodik that the entity parliament in the RS, where his SNSD is a ruling party, will vote next week on the entity's withdrawal from the key state-level institutions including the Indirect Taxation Authority, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council and the Armed Forces of BiH.
The first step towards that goal was made on Wednesday when the RS National Assembly adopted a bill to establish its own entity agency for medicines and medicinal devices. The opposition boycotted the vote.
The MEPs assessed that the announced votes in the RS National Assembly are “without precedent and, despite being illegal and unconstitutional as well as violating the Dayton Agreement, have the potential to generate concrete grounds for the RS leadership to pursue with their secessionist agenda”, which threatens the stability and peace in the whole Western Balkans.
“The word of “war“ has never been used as often and widely throughout the Balkans as in recent weeks and months, ranging from Bosnia Hercegovina to Kosovo and beyond,” the MEPs warned, accusing Serbia of being a “common denominator” in all the tensions as a “originator and supporter” of the so-called “Serb World.”
They said the foreseen votes in the entity parliament have the potential to endanger the stability of BiH and the region as well as the countries’ EU perspectives, so they called the EU and the Office of the High Representative (OHR), the institution that oversees the implementation of the Dayton Agreement which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war and has powers to dismiss officials and impose laws, to “issue a strong and possibly joint statement condemning the vote in strong terms, as well as declaring it illegal.”
The problematic vote next week has the potential to harm the peace in Bosnia and Hercegovina and the Western Balkan region as a whole.
With a broad coalition of foreign affairs colleagues we call on @JosepBorrellF and the @OHR_BiH to undertake swift action. pic.twitter.com/32fKZZx3zA
— Tineke Strik (@Tineke_Strik) October 21, 2021
“Further, we trust and expect that in the coming week, the EU and the OHR will use all possible diplomatic influence, and finally also the OHR Bonn Powers, to bring the nationalist forces in the RS political leadership to reason,” they underlined.
The parliamentarians also underlined “the crucial importance” of the EUFOR Althea, EU's military deployment in BiH, and its task to secure the Dayton Peace Agreement and the territorial integrity of BiH.
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