In a letter to the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament expressed "strong concern regarding recent events in Bosnia and Herzegovina" and called for the introduction of sanctions against the BiH’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity President Milorad Dodik, as well as other officials who "threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the country.
In their letter, the S&D MEPs stated that on January 9, 2023, the unconstitutional and illegal celebration of the founding of the ‘Republika Srpska’ was organized in East Sarajevo, marking events which led to the death of 100,000 people, with hundreds of thousands more forced to flee.
They added that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s son was also present at the event and that in that regard, Dodik decorated Vladimir Putin with the highest medal of honour for ‘particular patriotic care and love towards Republika Srpska’.
“This is only the latest escalation of the ongoing secessionist rhetoric and activity by Milorad Dodik, who was recently sanctioned by the US for ‘undermining the stability of the Western Balkans region through corruption and threats to long-standing peace agreements’. Given the seriousness of the situation, we were surprised not to see more active condemnation from the side of the European Commission. We believe it is absolutely necessary that rather than reacting retroactively, the Commission proactively engages with relevant authorities to prevent unconstitutional marches and genocide denial statements and supports BiH federal institutions including prosecutors to take swift action if necessary,” the letter states.
We urge @vonderleyen and @OliverVarhelyi to act decisively against further escalation in BiH.— S&D Group (@TheProgressives) February 1, 2023
We expect clear condemnation of unconstitutional marches and genocide denials.
High time for sanctions against Dodik and others who erode the unity of BiH.
Read the letter 👇 pic.twitter.com/yfJ8JRQVvx
They stressed that the “deliberate jeopardizing of BiH unity by Milorad Dodik and his allies cannot continue.”
“Following the events of January 9, we expect decisive action from the Commission, including from the EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi. As highlighted in the recently adopted EP's annual CFSP report, we believe that the EU should impose targeted sanctions against destabilising actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including those threatening its sovereignty and territorial integrity, notably Milorad Dodik, as well as other high-ranking officials of Republika Srpska and third-country officials providing political and material support for secessionist policies,” the S&D wrote.
They concluded by saying that the S&D Group remains committed to the Western Balkans’ path towards the EU and that their goal is full membership in the European Union for all the countries of the region.