The President of the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, said on Friday that Britons' decision to leave the European Union would not affect Bosnia and Herzegovina's commitment to continue on its path to the EU, but he also stressed that Brexit would render plans for similar votes in the Serb entity legitimate.
"We remain in the process of integration with the EU regardless of what the EU might be in the future, but with a greater need to protect our interests," Dodik told reporters in Banja Luka.
Dodik previously repeatedly stressed his Euro-skepticism and the Serb entity government is currently blocking Bosnia and Herzegovina's efforts to obtain EU candidate status by refusing to give its consent for an amended provisional trade agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU so that it could apply also to Croatia.
The Serb entity president was now, however, reserved in his comment on Brexit, noting that one should wait and see how the situation develops.
Nonetheless, he believes that it is very important that Britons made the decision in a referendum and recalled that there were plans in the Serb entity to resort to such a mechanism of checking voters' will.
"We have been prevented sternly (from holding a referendum) but the affirmation of the referendum as a final decision on important national issues has gained in strength and will serve Republika Srpska well in the future," Dodik said.
Dodik and the Serb entity government earlier planned to organise referendums on the Court and Office of the Chief State Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as on some court decisions such as one on the unlawfulness of marking January 9 as Republika Srpska Day.
Representatives of the international community responded strongly to such plans, stressing that it would be unconstitutional to question the work of Bosnia and Herzegovina state authorities at the entity level.