BRUSSELS – “We need EU commitment and action in the Western Balakns to counter Russia and China’s intereference campaings that spread anti-EU sentiment and attempts to destabilise the whole region”, wrote Members of the European Parliament from Socialist and Democrats Group (S&D).
In an op-ed for EU Observer, on the ocasion of thirty years of start war in Bosnia and Herzegovina starterd, MEPs called EU to be more active to end political crisis in Bosnia, including through pressure and sanctions against those who boycott the state institutions.
“The EU has an obligation to protect Bosnia-Herzegovina’s territorial integrity, unity and peace and prevent a return to the violence of the 1990s.
“But to play a stronger political role in Bosnia-Herzegovina, region. It is striking how disappointed with the EU the people of the region are becoming. Trust in the EU is dropping,”, wrote S&D MEPs.
According to EP members, Putin’s war against Ukraine and European values must be a wake-up call for the EU to urgently re-commit to the Western Balkans.
“Further delay in the EU enlargement process will make the region more vulnerable. Several regional and global powers have a growing political and financial interest in thwarting the European ambitions of all six Western Balkan republics”, stressed MEPs.
They added that Russian foreign interference and disinformation campaigns have already made their mark, particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.
MEPs noted that Serbia’s dependence on Moscow goes so far that the government even refused to align with the EU sanctions against Russia.
“If the Serbian authorities do not change their course after last Sunday’s elections then it should have consequences for the country’s EU perspective. But in any case, Europe should not give up on the region. More than ever, we need EU commitment and action in the Western Balkans to counter Russia and China’s interference campaigns that spread anti-EU sentiment and attempts to destabilise the whole region”, they concluded.
The six authors are all Socialist & Democrats MEPs. Tonino Picula is spokesperson on foreign affairs and the EP rapporteur on Montenegro. Tanja Fajon is head of the EP delegation to Serbia. Isabel Santos is EP rapporteur on Albania. Andreas Schieder is head of the EP delegation to North Macedonia. Dietmar Köster, is shadow rapporteur on BiH. Demetris Papadakis is shadow rapporteur on Serbia.