NATO has been on the agenda of our country’s foreign policy plan for almost two decades. The goal is membership, the road is long and uneven, and the Republika Srpska is holding it back. There have been no changes or progress for a long time, but lately NATO is not even among the priorities that the ruling coalition talks about. Are they working in silence or has BiH’s path to NATO been definitely forgotten?
From blackmail to blockades across red lines. In the momentum of European integration, the Atlantic ones remained on the margins. A NATO goal, but from the shadows. From the agreement, which also includes NATO’s path to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the only remaining disagreements are membership or just cooperation?
“We will never be a part of that alliance, cooperation is possible, but membership never,” says the president of RS Milorad Dodik (SNSD).
At the bottom of the list, it is unlikely that membership in the largest military alliance could soon return to the list of priorities. The partners confirm that there are no discussions about this with SNSD. But they claim that the path to membership was stopped by the previous government.
“Unfortunately, we are paying the price – for I don’t know what reason, colleagues from SDA and DF at one point agreed to transfer the talk of integration into NATO to the field of cooperation with NATO. Today, due to the acts adopted by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Parliament, Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the field of cooperation with NATO. We are no longer a country that aspires to membership, although, if I had to choose, I repeat this every time, I would rather choose NATO than the EU”, states the Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH Elmedin Konaković.
The SDA clearly answered – the alibi is bad. The essence of the problem, they claim, is the submissive policy of the Coalition of Three and loud silence in front of Dodik. The fact is that NATO’s path year after year involved blackmail and conditions. But the Reform Program was regularly adopted, and the path was clearly outlined.
“A lot has been done, but it should not be an alibi for the existing coalition that they do not continue.” If they are already accusing the SDA, it should be said that the SDA blocked the formation of government at the state level for more than a year until they forced Milorad Dodik to sign sending that ANP, that is the reform program, to Brussels. That clearly represented the unblocking of NATO’s path,” recalls Safet Kešo, state representative of the SDA.
The commission for cooperation with NATO was formed three months ago. To date, no meetings, and the Chairman of the Commission does not respond to our inquiries either. There is no consensus in the BiH Council of Ministers, so there is no reform program for this year either. Is NATO’s path to Bosnia and Herzegovina a forgotten path?
“In general, it was not given up. The assumption is that maybe they won’t ask that question at this moment, taking into account much more serious problems that BiH is going through,” explains communication expert Mladen Bubonjić.
Adnan Ćerimagić, analyst of the European Initiative for Stability, notes that NATO wants countries in its membership that are sure they want to be in the Alliance: “They don’t want members that will undermine the Alliance and its stability and everything else from the inside. So there is still a lot of work ahead of BiH, but I believe that it is possible if we focus on what membership would mean for BiH, but also for the region”.
It would mean a lot, but the road is long and uncertain. For months, other topics have taken priority over the issue of NATO membership. But it is also a fact that we will not be able to join NATO until everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina is in favor of it. The current government knows this, as did the previous government. As you know who blocks. Whose word will be the last?, Federalna reports.