BiH: EU Parliamentarians demand sanctions for RS and Milorad Dodik

BiH: EU Parliamentarians demand sanctions for RS and Milorad Dodik

MEP Tineke Strik said in the Twitter post that “the boycott by the leader of the Serbian entity of the necessary reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina is undermining the rule of law and harming the EU accession process. I am urging the Commission to ensure that these unacceptable actions have financial consequences”.

She and several other MEPs signed the letter sent to  EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi requesting action against Serb member of the BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik, for boycotting necessary reforms in the country, undermining the rule of law and harming the country’s EU accession process.

“As shadow rapporteurs in the European Parliament for the country’s 2020 progress report, we write to you to express our deep concern over the current situation and recent developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially regarding the boycott of all important state institutions by the Serb member of the BiH Presidency, as well as other political representatives from Republika Srpska,” stated the letter addressed to Commissioner Varhelyi.

“As you are most aware, the contemporary state structures and political climate in Bosnia and Herzegovina are complex and extremely precarious. For the country to fulfil any significant steps in the implementation of the 14 key priorities identified by the European Commission in order to be recommended for the opening of EU accession negotiations, major reforms are required.

For this process to be a success, cooperation and trust among the main political actors in the country are of vital importance. We, therefore, express our most grave concerns about the decision by the Republika Srpska political leadership to boycott all work in the major state institutions until the law on genocide denial (imposed) by the outgoing High Representative would be withdrawn,” said the letter.

Through their unwillingness to participate in any work of state institutions and non-recognition of the High Representative’s legitimate decision, the Republika Srpska political leadership undermines BiH’s democratic state structures and its Constitution contained in the Dayton Accords, jeopardizing the overall stability of the country and the region, the MEPs stated.

They noted that the Regulation (COD) establishing the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) provides for conditionality of funding related to the country’s performance in areas of the rule of law, fundamental rights and democratic institutions reforms, stating that in the event of significant regression or persistent lack of progress with the “basics,” the scope and intensity of assistance should be adjusted accordingly.

“Since the Republika Srpska also benefits financially through IPA III funds, we believe that this boycott should trigger the relevant provisions of the said Regulation,” they wrote.

As the Regulation (COD) does not provide for any specific procedure by which the European Parliament could initiate such a suspension of funds, they urge the Commissioner to consider the suspension of all funds through the IPA III program, of which the RS is a direct and sole beneficiary, until the boycott ends.

A suspension of funds could serve as an important political signal by European Commission in this political crisis. We believe that the interest of the BiH population, as well as the European future of the country … are a strong signal towards the political leadership of Republika Srpska as a reply to their undemocratic and unjustified move,” concluded the letter.