European Western Balkans

MEPs urge for investigation against Enlargement Commissioner for ties to Milorad Dodik

Olivér Várhelyi, European Enlargement Commissioner; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – Members of the European Parliament  call in open letter to European Commission President Ursula fon der Layen for an investigation against Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi  for his ties with BiH Serb Presidency Member, Milorad Dodik.

In open letter MEPS extremely alarmed by the apparent escalation of political tension within BiH, fuelled by Dodik.

“If Mr Dodik’s endeavor to break up the country and establish RS’s independence by withdrawing from state institutions and setting up independent authorities on the territory of RS is successful, its ramification will be felt far beyond the borders of BiH, with grave consequences for EU foreign policy and the enlargement process”, stated in a latter.

According to MEPs, the Commission has a key role in ensuring that the conclusions of the Dayton Agreement are respected on both sides and a peaceful coexistence of separate entities conducive to development and growth is established in BiH.

“Not all EU member states share these goals, however. It is widely reported that the current Hungarian government is actively supporting Mr Dodik’s campaign to pursue his political strategy in dividing BiH, as evidenced by a recent EUR 100mn support from Hungary to RS, just before the upcoming Bosnian general elections”, stated in a letter.

MEPs added that leaked document signed by Johann Sattler, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina suggests that EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Várhelyi  openly colluded with Milorad Dodik in potentially breaking up BiH.

The report notes that Commissioner Várhelyi “agreed” with Mr Dodik regarding the date of a special session of RS’s National Assembly and that a 6-month moratorium to pass legislation on the unilateral withdrawal from state institutions would be announced.

“Needless to say that Commission representatives cannot appear to appease separatist movements in this manner or act beyond their mandate contrary to official EU policy pertaining to the Western Balkan region. If the impartiality and neutrality of the Commission is called into question, the fragile geopolitical balance becomes immediately threatened”, stated in a letter.

“In this context, we would like to ask whether the Commission considers Commissioner Varhelyi’s conduct was in line with official EU policy towards BiH? Can we expect a thorough internal inspection to determine whether his actions are compatible with his role as Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement? What is the Commission’s stance concerning the territorial integrity of BiH and how does the Commission plan to ensure that the conclusions of the Dayton Agreement – of which the EU is a signatory of – are not violated?”, MEPs conluded.

The letter was signed by 30 europarliamentairians, among whom are Katalin Cseh, Attila Ara-Kovacs, Thijs Reuten, Thomas Waitz, Tineke Strik, Milan Brglez, Hilde Vautmans, Karen Melchior, Reinhard Butikofer, Petra Kammerevert, Javier Nar, Klara Dobrev, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Klemen Groselj and others.

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