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European Western Balkans
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MEPs discuss political situation in BiH, call for sanctions against Dodik

European Parliament session; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – Bosnia and Herzegovina needs a constructive dialogue and political will from all sides to move forwards on its EU path, said EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi addressing the European Parliament during a debate on the political situation in BiH, N1 reported.

According to Várhelyi, this matter is all the more important in the changed international context of Russia’s aggression on Ukraine.

He noted there are growing political divisions through the country at different levels, which were aggravated among other things with the boycott of the state-level institutions by representatives of Bosnia’s Serb-majority entity of Republika Srpska.

Várhelyi said that the continued boycott of decision-making at different levels could jeopardize significant investments, including investments coming from the Economic and Investment Plan. Várhelyi recalled that the EC has already conditioned the financial package for the investment projects in BiH, such as projects for the road and rail connections.

“As I have stressed several times to representatives of Republika Srpska, there is a need for urgent steps to deescalate tensions, to avoid further rhetoric, and to ensure the swift return to the state institutions and ensure their full functioning”, said Várhelyi.

Member of the European Parliament Paul Rangel assessed that this was the most dramatic moment in Europe after World War II and added that the peace, stability, and integrity of BiH are at stake. According to Rangle, it must not be allowed that the conflict in Ukraine leaves a negative impact on the region of the Western Balkans. Rangel urged for sanctions against those who work against the Constitution of BiH.

“The time has come to sanction Milorad Dodik and support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, said MEP Dietmar Konster and warned EP about the support that Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik is showing to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He assessed that Dodik cooperates with Moscow which has an interest to destabilize BiH.

MEP Tineke Strik assessed that the Russian aggression in Ukraine should serve as a wake-up call for the EU’s approach towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Dodik’s continued alliance with the warmongering Russian President forms a threat to European Parliament security and demonstrates once again that he has no respect for the international law, state sovereignty, or territorial integrity. It is an urgent reminder to the EU Member States that sanctions should be implemented now, instead of negotiating with him about the future of BiH”, strike said, N1 reported.

The European Parliament is the only EU institution that insists on imposing sanctions against Milorad Dodik because of the moves that cause the blockade of state institutions in BiH. According to Radio Free Europe (RFE) BiH Presidency Members, including Dodik, will be attending a debate in the EP Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) next week in Brussels. If this visit takes place, it will be Dodik’s first meeting with representatives of European institutions since the beginning of the political crisis last year. The EU has so far failed to reach a consensus to impose sanctions on those politicians in BiH and Republika Srpska entity who violate the Dayton Peace Agreement and threaten the functioning of the state institutions.

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