European Western Balkans

Strik: High Representative Schmidt needs to engage in public debate

Photo: tinekestrik.eu

BRUSSELS — The decision of High Representative Christian Schmidt to change the electoral law on 2 October, the day of elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, reinforces divisions instead of moving towards an inclusive society, said Tineke Strik, Member of European Parliament, following Schmidt’s hearing before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, held on 24 January and closed to the public. 

Strik expressed her disappointment with the discussion with the High Representative, as she doesn’t believe he understands the reasons for which he was criticized. She also criticized Schmidt’s lack of openness towards public communication and the fact that the session in the European Parliament was held behind closed doors. 

“My reason for asking for this meeting was to ensure a certain degree of responsibility towards the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina affected by his decisions, given that Mr. Schmidt has been hiding from the public debate in recent months, and I think that holding this meeting behind closed doors is really problematic,” Strik said after the meeting, as N1 reported.

MEP from the Greens/EFA Group also pointed out that she doesn’t understand Schmidt’s strategy or why he gave in to the requests by HDZ, thereby “depriving them of all incentives to participate in negotiations on much-needed democratic reforms to implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.” 

“The fact that Mr. Schmidt refuses to engage in public debate further undermines the legitimacy of his decisions, and I have called on him to better explain himself publicly,” Strik concluded according to N1. 

During his visit to Brussels, High Representative Christian Schmidt also met with the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi. The two officials discussed  candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina, implementation on the 14 key priorities and the process of forming new government. 

Schmidt also met with the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and the Western Balkans, Miroslav Lajčak and the newly appointed Director General of the Commission’s Directorate-General for EU Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), Gert Jan Koopman. 

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