The meeting of the leaders of the countries of the Western Balkans in Brdo-Brijuni did not produce concrete agreements, but it did produce conclusions and a clear common goal, which is membership in the European Union. Although we have promises, analysts are clear – Bosnia and Herzegovina is still far from that path. In addition to the promises, bilateral conflicts and tensions between the leaders of the region were also visible at the summit.
The presidents of Croatia and Slovenia, Zoran Milanović and Borut Pahor, who were the initiators of the Brdo-Brijuni Declaration, withdrew the declaration that was supposed to be adopted. Firstly, because of the views of the members of the BiH Presidency, Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović, who do not agree with the text of the declaration. Here’s what was in dispute.
“A few days ago, we received a text of the Declaration that stated something about the Electoral Law, the legitimate representation of the constituent peoples at all levels of government. It is a typical internal issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina and no one but us will deal with that issue,” said the Chairman of the Presidency BiH Šefik Džaferović.
When it was clear, according to the analysts, that there would be no issues related to changes to the BiH Electoral Law and that opinions differed, topics that could connect the Western Balkans region, and not separate them, were on the table. First of all, EU enlargement and candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“In July, Bosnia and Herzegovina was not discussed at all, later there was a proposal to be a candidate without conditions, like Ukraine and Moldova, but there were not enough votes for that. The EU Commission took this issue into consideration again,” said the President of Slovenia Borut Pahor.
“For me, the situation from June of this year with the EU Council, where Ukraine received candidate status, while Bosnia and Herzegovina did not, was a sufficient indicator,” said Croatian President Zoran Milanović.
The aim of these meetings is to improve the cooperation between the countries of Southeast Europe and to speed up the process of European integration. We can be closer to that process through candidate status, but also by abolishing the visa regime for the entire Western Balkans. According to analysts, disagreements and tensions in the region surfaced through longing for a European perspective. Especially in the part of the EU perspective. But what is good, they note, is that a clear goal has been defined for most of the Western Balkan countries, which is EU membership. The main question is how much is achievable for Bosnia and Herzegovina by the end of the year?
“At the same time, we must know that neither Pahor nor Milanović, as the presidents of the states, are not members of the EU Council, but their prime ministers, Golob and Plenković, so they have no influence when making such a decision. There are also other issues, such as visa liberalization – that enables Kosovo to obtain visa liberalization, while at the same time the fact that Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have a visa regime is kept silent”, according to the director of IFIMES from Ljubljana, Zijad Bećirović.
“Here we can look for more parallel bilateral conflicts, there are a lot of tensions, but I think it is good that they met together and crystallized that one goal – membership in the European Union. I think it was an ideal moment and the greatest opportunity for Bosnia and Herzegovina in June , and now it’s less and less realistic, especially because the EU will turn 100% on itself, we have an energy crisis”, says Faris Kočan, a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana.
Due to all the problems facing the Union, analysts add, it is clear that the issue of enlargement is now, more than ever, a geopolitical issue. Because of this, an unrealistic picture is emerging of them getting candidate status by the end of this year. The fact that we tap in a place where the questioner’s task is to fulfill the well-known conditions for membership is not in our favor either, BHRT reports.