bosnia referendum, banja luka.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Tanja VALIČ/ TANJUG / mm

The European Parliament rapporteur on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dan Preda, has warned that Russia's support for the referendum organised by Bosnian Serb authorities last Sunday is a dangerous move because in that way Moscow is trying to drag Bosnia and Herzegovina into its own conflict with Europe.

Russia is the only country to have openly supported the referendum in Republika Srpska (RS), the Serb entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and for us in the EU that is a worrying sign that Russia wants to expand its conflict with Europe, Preda told the Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz on Tuesday.

Regardless of the steps the international community's High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, decides to take, one must insist on political responsibility for the act that represents a clear undermining of the authority of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina because it violates the rule of law, and the rule of law is one of the most important conditions a country has to meet if it wants to join the EU, the Romanian member of the European Parliament said.

Preda noted that the conduct of the unconstitutional referendum and the application for EU membership candidate status cannot go together, adding that a number of new issues are being raised after Sunday's referendum about whether Bosnia and Herzegovina can make progress on its EU path.

The head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said that organising referendums such as the one held on September 25 showed that some politicians in the country cared more about such events than about EU membership.

Wigemark said that the EU could not be expected to respond to each provocation, adding that responsibility for safeguarding the Dayton peace agreement primarily lay with the Peace Implementation Council and High Representative Valentin Inzko.

He said that in his estimate the referendum was solely a part of the election campaign for local elections scheduled for October 2.

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