European Interest

Leading MEPs urge the EU to “finally impose” sanctions on Milorad Dodik

Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0 Attribution:
Milorad Dodik with Vladimir Putin, 23 May 2023.

“We can no longer allow a brazen secessionist and his followers… to systematically undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina”, say MEPs in a joint statement.

On 5 July 2023 European Parliament’s Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister (EPP, Germany), Standing Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina Paulo Rangel (EPP, Portugal) and the Chair of the Parliament’s Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo Romeo Franz (Greens, Germany) issued the following statement:

“We strongly condemn the National Assembly of Republika Srpska’s adoption of legislation on the non-implementation of decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and amending the Republika Srpska Law on publishing laws and other regulations, which constituted a direct attack on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitutional order and a blatant violation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. We therefore welcome the decision of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina on 1 July to revoke these laws, as well as the changes to the criminal code of Bosnia and Herzegovina that give the relevant law enforcement and judicial authorities the tools to properly act on attempts to undermine the constitutional order of the country. We also take note of the High Representative’s statement at his press conference on 1 July that ‘all options remain on the table’.

However, in light of the utterly provocative reactions of President Dodik and other leading Republika Srpska officials to these decisions, additional action by the European Union is urgently needed. The European Parliament has repeatedly called on the Council to move beyond verbal statements and take specific, targeted action against those who continue to deliberately and systematically undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitutional and territorial order in words and deeds. It is high time for the EU and its Member States to finally impose targeted sanctions on Milorad Dodik – who is already under US and UK sanctions – and his allies, if necessary on a bilateral level.

The EU’s credibility is at stake. Given the gravity of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Union cannot just verbally align with the High Representative’s decisions. It needs to support him with specific own initiatives.

On 16 December 2022, we welcomed the decision of the European Council to grant the status of candidate country to Bosnia and Herzegovina as a significant one-off incentive that should be swiftly acted on by the authorities. Since then, we have seen the development of a new and positive momentum. Following the last elections, everything is in place for the country’s authorities to continue building on this momentum, to work on the 14 key priorities as a matter of urgency and to genuinely progress on its EU integration path. We can no longer allow a brazen secessionist and his followers, including in the entity parliament, to systematically undermine the country and its future within Europe and put at risk peace and stability. We owe it to Bosnia and Herzegovina, its citizens, the region and ourselves.”

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