BiH will be a Member of NATO and EU

by Cristian Florescu

The Greens’ representative in the European Parliament, Romeo Franz spoke about the current security challenges of our country and the Western Balkans, the similarities between Ukraine and BiH, and also whether the destabilization of this region is in Vladimir Putin’s interest, write Sarajevo Times

How do you see the current situation in BiH and do officials, media, and analysts have a point when they say that this country is close to new conflicts?

”BiH is currently in a deep political crisis, which could bring a potential conflict. It is no secret that the Russian ruler in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, has been focused on the Western Balkans for a long time. European influence bothers him and that is why he is doing everything to oppose that influence. He supports the Serbian leader in Republika Srpska (RS), as well as President Aleksandar Vucic in Serbia, and within the European Union (EU) he found a loyal ally in Viktor Orban.

Milorad Dodik does not show readiness to give up taking away the competencies of the state. Will he be sanctioned or is such a mood-changing in the EU?

”For now, it seems that Mr Dodik is not giving up his intentions of secession, which aims to separate RS from the state. He continues with his decisions and amendments to the law, with devastating consequences for the entire population of BiH. We want sanctions for him and his followers. Parliament has called for this on several occasions. Hungary has so far blocked all sanctions in the Council. Mr Orban openly supports Dodik and they are both Putin’s friends. I hope that Orban will lose the elections in early April, and if not, we will have to abolish unanimity in the Council for such sanctions in the future. It is unacceptable that Orban dictates EU foreign policy and thus participates in the destabilization of the Western Balkans.”

How important is it for Serbia, like all European countries, to openly state its position on Russia’s attack on Ukraine to the end?

”That is very important. This is not a war between two warring sides. It is an aggressive war of Russia against the territorial integrity of one country and war against its population. War crimes are being committed there. I agree with the American president, Putin is a dictator and a war criminal! That is why it is important to speak out clearly against the Kremlin ruler and to support the joint measures the EU is taking, together with its allies, in response to the war. Vucic‘s position is unacceptable. He cannot want EU membership on the one hand and be in Putin’s arms on the other. Now he has to make a decision, and that means he has to support sanctions against Russia. Namely, the SNS of Aleksandar Vucic belongs to the family of the European People’s Party and we, the Greens, call on the Presidency of the ENP to take responsibility and ensure that all its sister parties choose the right democratic choice and make decisions with all their consequences. That also applies to Vucic and his party!”

Many see the solution to all security challenges in BiH’s accelerated accession to NATO and the EU. How realistic is that to expect?

”The future of BiH is in the EU membership and it will join NATO if the state wants it. There is no doubt about that. Ad hoc accession to the EU or an accelerated procedure for BiH will not be possible, as the conditions for EU membership must not be weakened. On the contrary, they must become more efficient and stronger. This can only be achieved through intensive accession negotiations, which ultimately lead to the implementation of the EU acquis. This applies to all candidates for EU accession.”

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