news 15 Apr 14

EU Ministers Slate Separatist Talk in Bosnia

After the EU Foreign Affairs Council discussed Bosnia on Monday, it said separatist rhetoric must go and politicians need to focus more on economic development and jobs.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

The EU Foreign Affairs Council has condemned “unacceptable secessionist and divisive rhetoric and ideas” in Bosnia, and said the European integration process in the country had stalled because of a lack of political will among politicians.

The reference to secessionist rhetoric was a slap in the face to officials in the Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated entity in Bosnia, who have repeatedly mulled the entity's eventual independence.

However, references to a lack of political will to further the EU integration process were seen as a rebuke to all the main parties in Bosnia.

At the session in Luxembourg on April 14, the Council, which brings together the foreign ministers of all EU member states, urged Bosnian officials to reach out to people, engage with civil society and provide immediate answers to the concerns raised in the recent wave of street protests in Bosnia.

“The Council heard the public protests and calls by BiH citizens to improve the social and
economic situation in the country,” it said. “The Council emphasizes that this is the collective responsibility of all BiH political leaders. Ahead of the general elections in October 2014, more needs to be done, not less.”

The EU ministers said Bosnian authorities should in particular do more to tackle the very high level of unemployment in Bosnia and create a better environment for business.

After the session, which was presided over by Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign affairs chief, Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said ministers felt they could make a difference in Bosnia.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina is seen as something that the EU can solve, unlike other countries, where [solutions] cannot be achieved without large world partners,” Pusic said.

“Croatia believes that if Bosnia and Herzegovina is left aside, it could lead to the destabilization of Europe,” she added.

“It is important to keep the European perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina in focus,” she continued.

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