Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic and her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock have agreed that the process to approve Bosnia-Herzegovina’s status as candidate for European Union membership must be accelerated in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After a meeting between the two diplomats on March 10, Turkovic called for an expedited process for Bosnia to be granted candidate status and the setting of a precise date for opening membership negotiations. She also asked Baerbock for German support for Bosnia’s becoming an EU candidate.
Bosnia is seen as a possible future member of the EU, but is not yet an official candidate.
Turkovic said achieving candidate status would help consolidate Bosnia’s stability amid attempts by Serbian separatists to push for the secession of the Bosnia’s Serb entity, Republika Srpska, with Moscow’s tacit approval.
Baerbock emphasized that the process of Bosnia’s EU membership needed to be intensified, saying that Bosnia “belongs in Europe,” and warned of the Serbian nationalistic tendencies threatening to destabilize the region.
“We therefore must and will stop those who seek to jeopardize the peace in Bosnia for selfish reasons,” Baerbock said.
Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, has been pressing for Republika Srpska to secede from the military, police, and tax administration of the central Bosnian government, actions that contravene 1995 Dayton accords, which ended the Bosnian War.
The Dayton accords split the country into two highly autonomous regions, the Orthodox Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat federation dominated by Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosniaks. The two regions are linked by a weak central government.
Baerbock said that, in the future, Germany would only support those who were working to strengthen the Bosnian state, not those seeking to destabilize and weaken it, referring to Dodik, who enjoys the support of Russia.
Baerbock further emphasized that economic cooperation would be based on shared values, including democracy, the rule of law, and upholding international agreements.