Secessionist attempts by the Republika Srpska destabilise Bosnia and Herzegovina

Secessionist attempts by the Republika Srpska destabilise Bosnia and Herzegovina

EP Plenary session — Joint debate — EU accession to the Istanbul Convention on violence against women

MEPs warn the Republika Srpska leadership to stop its secessionist actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the report on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), MEPs strongly denounce “the recurring inflammatory rhetoric and secessionist laws and policies” by the leadership of the Republika Srpska.

More than 25 years after the end of the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina remains deeply divided, with division promoted by political elites and secessionist attempts by the Republika Srpska entity’s leadership, warn MEPs. Such actions are destabilising BiH, contradict its EU perspective and endanger access to EU funding, states the report, calling for targeted sanctions against “destabilising political actors in BiH…, notably Milorad Dodik, as well as other high-ranking RS official and third-country officials providing political and material support for secessionist policies”.

Seize the political momentum

Commending the swift implementation of the results of the October 2022 general election and the appointment of a new state-level government, MEPs urge Bosnia and Herzegovina to strengthen its readiness for EU accession negotiations, seizing the political momentum gained by the European Council’s decision in December 2022 to grant the country candidate status. The EU should, say MEPs, accelerate BiH’s accession process but stress the process needs to be based on the country’s own merits.

The report notes that Bosnia and Herzegovina faces challenges to the rule of law, governance, accountability, freedom of expression and media, and corruption.. MEPs stress that democratic progress must be a precondition for the country to be able to receive funds from the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance IPA III.

The report was adopted by 530 votes in favour, 68 against and 33 abstentions.

The rapporteur Paulo Rangel (EPP, PT) said: “With BiH being granted candidate status, government authorities formed and the resumption of political decision-making, we see positive signs in BiH’s path towards the EU. Authorities now have to seize the momentum, deliver on key reforms, and urgently reject the inflammatory division and dangerous secessionism that continue to pose a major obstacle to EU integration.”


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