With a meeting with Sefik Dzaferovic and Milorad Dodik, European Council President Charles Michel began his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Important issues on the agenda. The road to the European Union, 14 key priorities and regional stability.
BiH needs the EU, but the EU also needs BiH – from this message from Michel, it is quite clear that the enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkans was the topic that dominated this meeting.
Speaking to the media, Michel said there was absolutely no doubt that BiH was a place in the EU. In this regard, he mentioned a new moment when it comes to this process, and that is the idea of creating a European geopolitical community that should accelerate the path of the Western Balkans to the EU in a way that, say, if one country meets a certain number criteria for an area, that even then he can take part in the work of the Council, but also apply for certain projects and funding. That is why, he says, it is very important that our country continues to work on the necessary reforms that have been stalled for a long time. He especially pointed out those 14 recommendations from the Opinion of the European Commission. He believes that there is an obvious delay. He said that, among other things, he came to listen to our politicians, what our problems are and how the EU can help us in that field.
“While we are addressing and discussing your country’s European path, Russia is attacking the Ukrainian people, and BiH experienced the disfavor of the war and its consequences during the 1990s. That is why it is important that you understand and support Ukraine unanimously and work together to send a clear a message to the world, and you are aware of our support for your country, “Michel said.
On the other hand, Milorad Dodik also spoke about BiH’s European path, saying, among other things, that he suggested to Michel, when it comes to 14 priorities, that they be reduced in some way in the sense that BiH solves some 5- 6 issues that can be resolved at the moment and thus make it easier for BiH to reach the candidate status.
Apart from this, the topic of conversation was also Ukraine. The war in that country caused numerous problems on the geopolitical scene. The EU is facing a number of problems in the supply of food, but also energy. The cooperation that must take place in order to try to overcome this crisis we are currently in was expressed. In this regard, Dodik reiterated that RS believes BiH should remain neutral when it comes to Russian aggression against Ukraine. In his address, Dodik said one more thing, and that concerns the problem of holding elections in BiH – he reiterated that RS is ready to give the necessary 12 and a half million to the Central Election Commission in order to hold the elections on time, and when the state budget is adopted, the money is returned to RS.
“I think that the European Commission has been unfair and harsh towards BiH in the last 15-20 years, demanding the almost impossible fulfillment of certain conditions. Then when we succeeded, then there were always some new demands. I proposed to Michel today, and I think and Dzaferovic agrees on that, to make one selection of those 14 priorities and finish the five that are important, and which we have already agreed so that we can know with some certainty that BiH can prefer and get EU candidate status, “said Dodik.
The joint meeting was followed by a separate meeting between Dodik and Michel. Dodik said that he proposed that after the three chapters that BiH had almost finalized, the state should receive the status of a candidate for EU membership.