Borrell: WB leaders should refrain from statements that add political divisions

NEWS 23.10.2020 12:19
Source: Frederick Florin/AFP

The EU supports Bosnia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence and political leaders in the Western Balkans should refrain from making any statements that could add political divisions and negatively impact relations with neighbouring countries, EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, said in a statement on behalf of the European Commission.

Borrell’s statement came as a response to a question posed by European Parliament member Dominique Bilde regarding statements the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, made in July.

Dodik was speaking about Kosovo and argued that Bosnia’s Serb-majority entity, Republika Srpska (RS), should be treated the same.

„We believe that Kosovo cannot be an internationally recognized state in the way some countries in the world accept it. The RS should have the right to be treated in the same way because the circumstances in the way this issue is being discussed are nearly identical,“ he said.

Bilde asked whether “the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy consider it appropriate for the status of Republika Srpska to be discussed as well,” given that the EU has been conducting facilitated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo since 2011.

Borrell’s full statement follows:

“The EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue aims for the parties to achieve a comprehensive, legally binding agreement to normalise their relations, dealing with all outstanding issues. This will contribute to stability in the Western Balkans region as a whole. The EU expects all political leaders in the Western Balkans to actively support the process, including by refraining from any statements which could add to political divisions and negatively affect good neighbourly relations.

Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are an essential part of every candidate country and potential candidate’s progress on the path towards EU integration. As regards Bosnia and Herzegovina specifically, our line has always been clear: the EU supports the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s path towards EU accession is based on the 14 key priorities from the Commission’s Opinion on its EU membership application1, as endorsed by the Council in December 20192. The Commission monitors the progress in meeting these key priorities, including in the context of the yearly enlargement package.”