analysis 22 Jun 16

Balkan Countries Brace for British Vote on EU

Experts and people across the Balkans are following the upcoming referendum in the UK on the EU, weighing its likely impact on their countries’ already troubled EU accession plans.

BIRN team
Sarajevo, Zagreb, Tirana, Sofia, Podgorica
Photo: Youtube screenshot.

While busily following Euro 2016 championship matches, planning summer holidays and struggling to survive the various political, economic and social maladies in the region, many people in the Balkans are also still paying close attention to Britain's “in-out” referendum on the EU on Thursday.

The Bosniak member of Bosnia's Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, told the Associated Press that the vote sends a “somewhat depressing message” to countries aspiring for EU membership, but added that Bosnia will not be discouraged.

Izetbegovic stressed that the EU will remain an inspiration to countries undergoing painful reforms to join the bloc as a guarantee of prosperity.

“The vote in the UK will have a considerable impact on Bosnia and Herzegovina," Milos Solaja, a professor at the University of Political Sciences of Banja Luka, told BIRN.

"If the UK quits the EU, it will encourage all the Euro-sceptics in our country, just like in the rest of the continent … on the other hand, if British citizens decide to remain in the Union, this will help all those who support the European Project.”

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