Western Balkan politicians address the European People’s Party Congress

Šefik Džaferović; Photo: Flickr / European People's Party

ZAGREB – Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Šefik Džaferović spoke about migrant crisis affecting his country, as well as the acceptance of Islam in Europe at the European People’s Party Congress in Zagreb, which is taking place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Leaders of opposition in Albania and North Macedonia, Lulzim Basha and Hristijan Mickoski also addressed the Congress.

Ruling Serbian Progressive Party and the Democratic League of Kosovo, which are also partner organisations to EPP, did not have representatives at the speakers’ list.

On the other hand, Montenegro does not have a non-national minority party in the membership of the European People’s Party.

Pointing at the rising problem with migrants at Bosnia and Herzegovina’s northern border, which is also the southern border of the EU, Šefik Džaferović said that the migrant crisis is turning into humanitarian crisis.

“The protection of the borders cannot include the infringement of human rights, because it is not humane and there will come a time when everybody who did that will have to be hold accountable. At this time, we are providing shelter to greater number of people than some richer and more stable countries of the European Union”, Džaferović said.

Clashes with the Croatian police and the lack of shelter have been described as the main problems at the migration route through Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“We need a stronger support from the EU. Not only financial and technical, but also political”, Džaferović stated.

He also stressed that Bosnia and Herzegovina, about half of population of which is Muslim, shares the same vision of Europe as the European People’s Party.

“European Union is an idea that people of different races, nations and religions can live together. This is why Islam belongs to Europe, just as Christianity, Judaism and other (religions)”, he said.

Džaferović’s speech came after the addresses of representatives from Tirana and Skopje. Main opposition parties of Albania and North Macedonia, Democratic Party and VMRO-DPMNE are both associate members of the EEP and their leaders used the opportunity to present their views on the situation in their countries.

Both Lulzim Basha and Hristijan Mickoski strongly criticised their countries’ respective governments, pledging to lead a pro-European and reform-oriented governments if they come to power.

Read also: Resolution on political crisis in Albania adopted by the European People’s Party

“Our role as an opposition party is to bring about meaningful and tangible change for our citizens, and after the elections of April 12 we aim to form a stable, European Union-oriented government, one that will achieve this”, said Hristijan Mickoski.

European People’s Party adopted a resolution on Wednesday, urging for free, fair, democratic and credible elections to be organized on 12 April 2020.

President of HDZ BiH party Dragan Čović was also present in Zagreb, where he met with Chancellor Angela Merkel, discussing the formation of the government in his country.