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Bosnia-Herzegovina Can Only Join EU As One Country, Germany’s Baerbock Says

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has warned against what she called the “secessionist fantasies” of the Bosnian Serb entity under its leader, Milorad Dodik, saying that Bosnia-Herzegovina’s accession into the European Union could only be achieved as a unified country.

Under the Dayton peace agreement that ended the 1992-95 Bosnian War, Bosnia has consisted of the Bosniak-Croat federation and Republika Srpska under a weak central government.

Baerbock, who is on a tour of the Western Balkans, spoke on March 5 after talks in Sarajevo with Bosnian Foreign Minister Elmedin Konakovic.

“Secessionist fantasies meant to put obstacles on the path of European integration; we will clearly name those fantasies, because only a joint commitment and a united Bosnia-Herzegovina can lead to the path to the EU,” Baerbock said.

Dodik has repeatedly threatened secession, spurning the Muslim-Croat Federation and taking steps to establish some parallel institutions over the past two years.

Dodik, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month and plays up their “good relations,” is under U.S. and British sanctions for his obstruction of the Dayton agreement and for violating the legitimacy of Bosnia.

In December, the EU announced it will open accession negotiations with Bosnia “once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved.”

The European Commission is to assess the country’s progress in mid-March and make a decision on whether negotiations can be opened.

Baerbock has said that Bosnia is at a “key crossroads in the accession process.”

Konakovic said after the meeting that Bosnia’s central authorities still have a lot of work to do, but they are determined “to continue the European path faster than we have ever traveled.”

Baerbock is scheduled to meet with members of Bosnia’s joint parliamentary commission for European integration and representatives of both houses of parliament.

Earlier on March 5, Baerbock met with the high representative of the international community in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, his office announced.

Dodik has been charged over two laws he signed in July that allow the Bosnian Serb entity to bypass or ignore decisions made by Schmidt.

Source: RFERL