Schallenberg and Tajani ahead of EU summit in Bosnia

Bosnia expects the EU to agree on the start of accession negotiations at the upcoming EU summit. Bosnian Foreign Minister Elmedin Konaković, in his statement after his meeting with his counterparts from Austria and Italy, Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) and Antonio, said: “We expect the green light to come as a political and strategic message to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and also to Russia.” said. Tajani was in Sarajevo on Monday in response to a related question from APA.

Schallenberg and Tajani were in Bosnia together a year ago and praised the progress the country had made in moving closer to the EU during that period. Konaković also touched on this: “We have really achieved a lot in the last twelve months,” he said when asked about the validity of the two laws that the EU requested from Sarajevo. The law to prevent conflicts of interest has reached its final stage. However, there are problems in the law regarding the courts regarding the seat of the court, which must be in the Serbian part of the country, that is, in the Republika Srpska.

His country will do its best to meet the EU’s conditions. “We hope that the bureaucracy does not gain the upper hand in leadership from the EU side,” Konaković objected. “We will meet the bureaucratic requirements, but we are hopeful about the leadership now.” The minister made it clear that he did not want a shortcut in Bosnia’s accession process. “The launch of membership negotiations is a political message from Brussels.” This would also be an important signal to Moscow, which maintains good relations especially with the Republika Srpska. “When we get on the train, it is also a message to Russia to withdraw from this part of the world.”

After the meeting with Konaković, Schallenberg was supportive and emphasized that he, like Tajani, hoped for the green light at the EU summit on 21 and 22 March. “Bosnia is part of Europe,” Tajani said. Schallenberg added that the EU would no longer have to “split its hair” if one of the necessary laws is passed and the other is delayed. However, he also called on Sarajevo not to miss the “lunar window”. The country has passed two important laws on money laundering and the authorization of EU border protection agency Frontex. “But that’s only half the battle.” There are doubts among EU countries. Sarajevo should not present “easy arguments” on this issue.

Schallenberg said the visit was both “encouragement and warning.” Schallenberg warned that if the EU does not approve the start of accession negotiations, “The EU calendar does not look very good. Then we will probably lose almost another year.” At the end of 2022, the EU Council granted accession candidate status to the Western Balkan state.

Little progress has been made in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s rapprochement with the EU for 18 years, mainly due to internal conflicts between the central government and separatist regional representatives of the Serbian ethnic group. Referring to Dodik’s separatist and pro-Kremlin policies, Schallenberg said that Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik lit a fire and “played with fire next to a powder keg.” Anyone who tries to “block” EU rapprochement is robbing people, especially young people, of their future. Schallenberg pointed out that 44 percent of the population currently lives abroad. Many see no hope in their own country.

In Sarajevo, Schallenberg and Tajani met with the President, Chairman of the Council of Ministers Borjana Krišto and High Representative Christian Schmidt. Schallenberg also wants to meet with representatives of Austrian companies.


Source: Vienna


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