POLITICS

Is the EU rewarding Dodik for breaking up BiH and what is Varhelyi’s Role?

The destructive policy of the Republika Srpska (RS) authorities across Europe was assessed as unacceptable given that it undermines the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). However, within the European Union (EU), there are still those who are extremely lenient towards Milorad Dodik and even reward him financially.

Not all EU countries are in favor of sanctions against Dodik andsome of his associates, and it is persistently being called for dialogue and finding a compromise, no matter how paradoxical it may sound. Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia are among the EU members that are not in favor of sanctions. There are, of course, several other countries, and it is certain that there will be no consensus on EU sanctions.

But, what remains are possibly individual sanctions of some countries or an attempt at some other variant that implies financial punishment of the RS authorities, which is proposed primarily by Germany. However, the RS entity cannot pursue its destructive policy towards the state without money, and the governing structure in RS expects a significant financial injection in the upcoming period from several types of grants and loans for projects that will use to try to stay in power.

Significant assistance for RS

RS is currently expecting grants and loans from the EU in the total amount of 642.8 million euros, which is 1.257 billion convertible marks. This framework does not include funds coming through the EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance(IPA) fund. These are old projects funds that have been in drawers for a long time, but, an initiative for their realization has now been launched.

These are earmarked grants and loans to help the budget and the construction of highways. The strategic and operational committees of the Western Balkans Investment Framework discussed yesterday and will decide today to award investment grants to the Western Balkans.

BiH expects grants in the amount of 404 million euros, of which 268 million euros go to projects from BiH entity RS. These are two projects in the RS: the reconstruction of the railway line on the corridor 5C Samac – Doboj – Rjecica (84.8 million euros) and the construction of the section Johovac – Vukosavlje (183.6 million euros).

Also, there are loans that will be provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in the total amount of EUR 327.47 million for the completion of the mentioned projects. Also, the European Commission will allocate another 46.8 million euros to the RS budget within the second tranche of macro-financial support.

So, with these decisions, the smaller entity in BiH will, in fact, receive 1.27 billion marks from the EU overnight, regardless of the previously adopted projects through IPA funds and those planned under IPA III.

Less money for the Federation of BiH (FBiH)

It is indicative that the Western Balkans investment framework for BiH includes three projects from the FBiH, but the total amount of funds is almost half lower and amounts to 135.46 million euros, namely Corridor 5C Medakovo – Ozimice 80.7 million, Corridor 5C for tunnel Kvanj 31 million euros, and the section Kvanj – Buna tunnel 23.68 million euros.

What is indicative at the moment is that RS is being helped with a significant financial injection at a time when the National Assembly of the RS (NARS) is adopting conclusions on the demolition of state institutions and threatening the constitutional order of BiH. So why do the institutions of the EU approve significant funds for the authorities of that BiH entity, when the government they help directly implements anti-state policy?

According to available information, there are criticisms within the EU institutions for the manner of approving and suspecting violations of procedures, including allegations that this also violates the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) by approving funds contrary to clear provisions.

As it was found out from well-informed diplomatic circles, certain warning letters have arrived at the European Commission, bearing in mind that the blockade of state institutions prevents the implementation of reforms and holding sessions of committees and subcommittees as an obligation of the SAA, which indicates certain illogicalities and lack of caution when it comes to approving funds, which is not the case with European money.

The role of Hungary

It should be reminded that during the visit to Banja Luka in early November, the Hungarian Prime Minister promised Dodik financial and economic assistance, assessing that RS is key to stability in the region.

“We will expand our neighborhood and economic program to RS, we will support small and medium-sized enterprises, and thus open new opportunities for Hungarian entrepreneurs,” he noted.

It is clear that Hungary is on the list of those whom Dodik calls friends and who will help him in case of Western sanctions.

During his last visit to Sarajevo, EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said politicians must return to dialogue, although he did not clearly condemn the behavior of RS authorities, especially Milorad Dodik. He emphasized that only after that can BiH receive all the benefits that come from EU programs and funds, including a European investment package that serves to support aid during the pandemic.

“In order to fully enjoy all the benefits through this type of assistance, we need to have urgent measures and activities to be taken. In other words, we need to have functional institutions at the level of BiH. We are still waiting for decisions to be made that would enable investments. Otherwise, there is a danger that they will be lost, we are talking about 1.5 billion euros of infrastructure investments and 1.9 billion that remain under the IPA framework. Without these decisions, there is a danger for BiH that it will not be a participant in the next year in numerous other programs, “ Varhelyi stated in Sarajevo in late November.

On Thursday, after several months of blockade, the Council of Ministers unanimously adopted all the points, and most of them referred to the approval of loans and grants expected from the EU. But, the RS has not withdrawn the controversial conclusions that undermine BiH institutions, they have adopted a decision on the establishment of an entity agency for medicines, and still do not accept the decisions of the Constitutional Court. They also have a law in force rejecting the application of Inzko’s law banning genocide denial. All this is still tolerated in the EU, and countries like Hungary and diplomats like Varhely still ignore it, minimize it, and generalize it with calls to move on and make an agreement.

E.Dz.

Source: Klix.ba

 

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