A group of US senators proposed the ‘Western Balkans Democracy and Prosperity Act’ a bipartisan bill according to which the United States would use its influence in NATO to “encourage alliance planning and support of an international military force to maintain a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” especially if Russia blocks the extension the EUFOR mission in the country in the United Nations.
Chair of the SFRC Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, together with Senator Roger Wicker, introduced the new bipartisan legislation which has the goal to “support economic development in the region through initiatives on infrastructure, trade and anti-corruption, including codification of sanctions to deter destabilizing activity In the Western Balkans.”
The bill calls on the US to support the maintaining of the full European Union Force (EUFOR) mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is described as being “in the national security interests of the United States.”
The bill would oblige the US to encourage NATO and the EU to “review their mission mandates and posture in Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure they are playing a proactive role in establishing a safe and secure environment, particularly the defence environment.”
It calls for “using the voice of the United States in NATO to encourage alliance planning and support of an international military force to maintain a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially if Russia blocks the reauthorization of the mission in the United Nations.”
It also calls for strengthening the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo.
“Amid Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine and Putin’s clear ambitions to spread malign influence across Eastern Europe, the United States’ relationship with the Western Balkans is pivotal. That’s why I’m proud to introduce new bipartisan legislation that strengthens trade and investments between the U.S. and Western Balkans, while rooting out local corruption and codifying sanctions against destabilizing actors – all of which pave the way for greater Euro-Atlantic integration,” said Shaheen.
“The six countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia) form a pluralistic, multi-ethnic region in the heart of Europe that is critical to Europe’s peace, stability, and prosperity,” the bill says.
It was also supported by senators Thom Tillis, Dick Durbin, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.