News in English     | 12.12.2022. 20:47 |

Group of MEPs requests that EU funding to the RS remain suspended

FENA Press release, Photo:

BRUSSELS, December 12 (FENA) - In a letter to President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the Foreign Affairs coordinators and Bosnia and Herzegovina shadow Rapporteurs of the EPP, S&D, Renew and Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament have expressed concern about the potential disbursement of €600 million of EU funds to Republika Srpska (RS).

The funds, which include investments for road and rail connections on Corridor V, are currently frozen due to the dangerous secessionist policies of entity President Milorad Dodik. These policies directly harm the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its pro-EU future.

Last week, Commissioner Várhelyi visited Bosnia and Herzegovina and met with entity President Milorad Dodik, after which the latter claimed in media appearances that an agreement had been reached regarding the resumption of funding to the RS entity. As the Commissioner did not rebuke the statements in the AFET Committee of the European Parliament when asked directly, the coordinators and shadow rapporteurs have resorted to writing directly to President von der Leyen.

The coordinators and shadow rapporteurs are extremely concerned about the potential resumption of EU funds, as the secessionist laws and proposals have not been officially retracted. Moreover, the continued engagement of the RS entity leadership with Russia, including expressing support for the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and their illegal "referendums" to annex Ukraine's territory, prove that it is not time to resume funding for these projects in the RS.

Given the Hungarian blockade of EU sanctions towards those responsible for the current crisis, the disbursement of IPA III funding is the only political leverage available at this time.

The coordinators and shadow rapporteurs therefore urge President von der Leyen to intervene and ensure that EU funding towards the RS remains suspended until its leadership demonstrates a serious change of course and officially withdraws the secessionist laws, says the letter signed by Tineke Strik (Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur for BiH), Michael Gahler (EPP foreign affairs coordinator), Tonino Picula (S&D foreign affairs coordinator), Hilde Vautmans (foreign affairs coordinator, Renew), Reinhard Bütikofer (Greens foreign affairs coordinator/ EFA), Paolo Rangel (EPP rapporteur for BiH), Dietmar Köster (S&D shadow rapporteur for BiH), Klemen Grošelj (Renew, shadow rapporteur for BiH).

(FENA) L. N.

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