The Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zukan Helez, who attended a meeting with European Union officials in Brussels yesterday, said that the EU is satisfied, even above average, with what the current convocation of the BiH Council of Ministers is doing, reports Anadolu.
Today, Helez visited the Regional Office of the Anadolu Agency (.) for the Balkans based in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was welcomed by the director of the Regional Office for the Balkans, Hakan Celik, and the editor-in-chief of the agency, Zlatan Kapić.
In a conversation with journalist Anadolu, Helez touched upon the meeting of the Stabilization and Association Council of the EU and the officials of Bosnia and Herzegovina, held yesterday in Brussels, which he attended. In addition to Helez, the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers Borjana Krišto and the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Staša Košarac were also present in Brussels.
When asked how satisfied he was with the aforementioned meeting and what it meant in the context of improving relations between BiH and the EU, Helez said that it was a meeting hosted by the highest EU officials and key people in the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European path. which received candidate status in December 2022.
“They talked to us about what we did. I was surprised that they are satisfied, to a large extent satisfied, even satisfied above some average”, said Helez, reminding that the last convocation of the Council of Ministers was blocked.
– Hungary also shares the opinion of other EU members –
Noting that the new convocation of the Council of Ministers has so far adopted important laws, strategies and decisions, Helez said that “they (the EU) are satisfied with the pace at which the Council of Ministers works”.
“I’m honestly not satisfied and I know it can be much better,” said Helez.
He reminded that after yesterday’s meeting, a joint statement of all 27 EU members was adopted, which can be found on the EU website. Helez underlined that this is the first time that all 27 member states have a full consensus when it comes to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“I was positively surprised that even those that were closer to Milorad Dodik before, such as Hungary, were all unique. In the fourth paragraph of the joint statement, it is pointed out that it is worrying, that it is condemned and that it will not be allowed that the RS continues its anti-constitutional, anti-Dayton and secessionist activities within BiH”, explained Helez.
He added that it was also emphasized that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a unique, sovereign, multi-ethnic state with stable borders, and that there are no dilemmas regarding BiH, as far as they are concerned.
Helez said that the EU’s call that everyone in BiH should recognize the genocide in Srebrenica and pay tribute to all the victims was controversial for Košarac, but there were also some other objections that were requested to be deleted.
Stating also that Košarac requested that some things be changed or deleted from the statement and that the representatives of BiH separately adopt their own document, Helez said that he was explicit about adopting the document drawn up by the EU, which was ultimately supported by Helez and Krišto , while Košarac was against it.
Helez added that in his speech in Brussels, Košarac clearly said that the representatives of the RS are for the EU, that they are in favor of 14 priorities, and that he claimed that the RS did not cause a constitutional crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“They (EU officials) repeated that the sole culprit is Dodik and the NSRS and that they will not tolerate it anymore,” said Helez.
– “The ring around Milorad Dodik is tightening” –
He also noted that he had brief bilateral talks with the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, in Brussels.
“Then he said that the circle around Milorad Dodik was tightening in the financial sense, that the salaries of educators, pensions were already late and that it was already running out of strength,” said Helez.
At the end, he said that in the meantime Dodik had also sent a certain document on the de-escalation of relations in BiH, however, as he said, no one had read it, because the document did not come from the state but from the entity level.
“It was met with derision and everyone is aware that he created a crisis, and then it was to change and to be the savior of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We didn’t even consider that and it wasn’t on the agenda,” concluded Helez.
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