MPs on von der Leyen to investigate the commissioner’s alleged role in aiding Dodik’s separatist ideals in Bosnia.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is being asked to investigate an EU official’s alleged role in aiding the Bosnian Serbian leader Milorad Dodik’s separatist escalation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In a letter to von Der Leyen released on Monday, members of the European Parliament (LEPs) wrote that a leaked document indicated that the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, had “openly conspired” [with Dodik] to possibly break up Bosnia and Herzegovina ”.
“The report notes that Commissioner Varhelyi ‘agreed’ with Mr Dodik on the date of a special session of Republika Srpska’s National Assembly and that a 6-month moratorium on the implementation of unilateral withdrawal from state institutions would be announced. be, “reads the letter. .
Bosnia is currently facing biggest political and security crisis since the end of the war in December 1995, when the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed.
The agreements divided the country into two semi-autonomous entities – the Bosnian and Croatian-dominated Federation entity and the Serbian-controlled Republika Srpska entity.
“Commission representatives can not seem to appease separatist movements in this way or act outside their mandate in violation of official EU policy with regard to the Western Balkans region,” the EP letter read.
“If the impartiality and neutrality of the Commission are called into question, the fragile geopolitical balance is immediately threatened.”
Dodik, the Serbian member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, called on Republika Srpska in October to withdraw from key state institutions and set up his own semi-state institutions, in violation of the peace treaty and constitution.
Christian Schmidt, Bosnia’s High Representative, called Dodik’s moves “equivalent to secession” and warned that it could cause further divisions and conflict.
On December 10, Republika Srpska’s parliament passed a series of laws enabling the entity to form its own institutions and army by May.
After news of Sattler’s leaked document was released on December 21, Radovan Kovacevic, Radovan Kovacevic’s adviser to Dodik, denied Varhelyi’s involvement in the planning of the Republika Srpska meeting session.
The letter, signed by 30 MPs, noted that “as a neutral party with significant influence” the Commission has a key role to play in ensuring that the Dayton peace agreement is respected on both sides.
It asked von der Leyen whether the Commission was of the opinion that Varhelyi’s actions were in line with his role and with official EU policy towards Bosnia.
“What is the Commission’s position on the territorial integrity of Bosnia and how does the Commission plan to ensure that the conclusions of the Dayton Agreement – of which the EU is a signatory – are not violated?” asked the letter.
Katalin Cseh, MEP of Hungary’s progressive Momentum Movement, shared the letter on Twitter on Wednesday, writing: “The EU must stand firm and credible on the side of peace. People in [Bosnia and Herzegovina] and further deserves clarity on this. “
With MEP colleagues, we call for an inquiry into Commissioner Varhelyi’s alleged role in assisting Milorad Dodik’s separatist escalation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The EU must stand firmly and credibly on the side of peace. People in BiH and beyond deserve clarity on this. pic.twitter.com/Ihj0nXMfE6
– Katalin Cseh (@katka_cseh) 12 January 2022
“As a Hungarian MEP, it is especially important for me to send a message to the people of BiH, who are being forced to relive the horrors of war – there is a Hungarian on the other side of Viktor Orban who stands in solidarity with you In these difficult times, ”Cseh said.
Hungarian Prime Minister Orban told the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network last month that his country was providing Republika Srpska ($ 114.4 million) with 100 million euros in financial assistance and would block any EU move to sanction Dodik for his secession plans. .
Orban said Serbia and Republika Srpska were “the key to the stability of the Western Balkans”.