Index - Abroad - There is a huge turmoil in Bosnia, but what does the Hungarian Commissioner for Enlargement have to do with it?

The letter, drafted by the current MEP Katalin Cseh, calls into question the neutrality of the European Commissioner for Enlargement and raises suspicions that Várhelyi was not in the interests of the EU when she met Milorad Dodik in November. This is based on a Commission document issued last year, signed by the EU Special Representative for Bosnia, the Head of the EU Delegation, John Sattler. It is in this that Várhelyi nodded at the breakaway efforts of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia, instead of trying to stop him immediately.

As is well known, last October Dodik announced his intention to withdraw the Republic of Serbia from the state institutions and joint army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to establish its own organizations and military by May. In essence, the goal is total separation.

Concessions to separatism?

Oliver Várhelyi then held talks with all three members of the presidency in Sarajevo in November, urging dialogue and drawing attention to the country’s unity as a guarantee of European (and EU) funding and investment.

However, according to the leaked document, behind the scenes, Dodik and Várhelyi reached an agreement that was contrary to EU goals:

the commissioner approved the Serbian president’s plan to VOTE in the parliament of the republic of serbia on 10 december on laws that would allow for secession in six months, i.e. until may. the vote was taken and the separatist legislation was passed.

It was also agreed to impose a six-month moratorium on the implementation of laws in the legislation of the Republic of Serbia, which MEPs urging the inquiry assessed as a concession to the Serbian separatist movement, undermining the credibility of a unified European foreign policy.

So, even if the leaked document was real, a background agreement was reached that left the door open before the Serb secession. It is a question of whether the European Commission knew about this.

In any case, we also asked Olivér Várhelyi’s cabinet about the story of the leaked document and its aspects. We received the following answer:

“The story you are referring to is not true, it was refuted immediately after it was published.”

They also reiterated the official statement that the Commissioner for Enlargement had urged dialogue in Sarajevo, stressing the importance of unity in promoting EU integration.

Is it dictated by Brussels or Budapest?

At the time of the leak, a committee headed by Ursula von der Leyen issued a statement stating that although Várhelyi had indeed been informed of the initiation of the secession during his talks in Sarajevo, that did not mean he had approved or accepted Dodik’s plans.

In any case, another Hungarian visited Bosnia-Herzegovina before Várhelyi, namely Viktor Orbán, who had lunch with Dodik in Banja-Luka in early November.

The two statesmen met several times in recent years. Even then, strong links developed between the Republika Srpska and Hungary in the energy sector, as the Bosnian gas station network commuting between the Serbian (Gazprom-influenced) and Croatian (Mol-influenced) oil industries was already under Mol’s control at that time. is.

In this way, the article of the Brussels-based Politico in Brussels last October, in which diplomats and committee sources stated:

Oliver Várhelyi is the Voldemort of the enlargement of the European Union. He follows the agenda of his bosses in Budapest, flatters authoritarian leaders, and largely ignores the rule of law.

From Greater Serbia to Srebrenica and back

In Serbia, but especially in the Serbian territories of Bosnia, two trends are growing: the denial of the Srebrenica massacre and the idea of ​​a Greater Serbia outbreak of war in the Balkans.

Serbia is spending even more on army development than Hungary, while its politicians are becoming more and more nostalgic for Greater Serbia. It is not a rare topic for Bosnian Serbs, nor is the formation of their own forces. We wrote more about this here.

Referring to diplomatic sources, the Bosnian newspaper Istraga, which blew up the alleged Várhelyi-Dodik secret agreement, also claimed that the EU commissioner and the president had agreed that the international community’s main image in Bosnia-Herzegovina last year for current Bosnian tensions and separatist tendencies.

Valentin Inzko, who oversaw the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, which marked the end of the Bosnian war in 1995, held the position for 12 years and, seeing nationalist sentiments begin to intensify, issued a final decree,

which made the Srebrenica massacre punishable.

Banja-Luka immediately said he would not comply with this, and Bosnians now fear the EU plans to correct the regulation to reduce tensions.

Serbs can come, but thanks from the Bosnians, don’t we?

I will do my utmost to convince the great leaders of Europe that the Balkans may be further away from them than Hungary, but how to deal with the security of a state in which two million Muslims live is also a key issue for their security.

– said Viktor Orbán on the Christmas government information, which caused a great deal of outrage among the Bosnians.

Sefik Dzaferovic, a Bosnian member of the country’s three-member presidency, described the statement as “shameful and rude.”

The integration of two million Muslims is not a challenge for the EU, as we are also an indigenous people who have always lived here, we are also Europeans.

– He told.

The news came last spring that an informal document (non-paper) outlining the redesign of the current borders of the former Yugoslavia had been completed in the office of Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša.

Under this, Serbia would receive the Serb-majority Serbian Republic of Bosnia, or, like Northern Kosovo, the Bosnian Serb entity would enjoy South Tyrol-type autonomy, as would the Croatian-majority Western Herzegovina.

The Croatian Jutarnji List citing its unnamed Slovenian sources, it also stated that

Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia, and Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, are behind the secret mapping.

The press of Oliver’s office in Várhelyi reacted to the Index as follows:

The EU is fully committed to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and rejects any proposal that would undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitutional framework. The Commissioner also rejected the so-called non-paper when the media reported on it, outlining his vision for the Western Balkans: advancing the EU enlargement process and the region’s lagging behind the EU in implementing the Economic and Investment Program in the Western Balkans. . This work is ongoing.

(Furthermore linked the interview of the Commissioner for Enlargement published in Magyar Nemzet on Friday.)

It could be easy, if there is any reality to the leaked document on which Várhelyi is accused, that Dodik wants to put some pressure on the EU by threatening to break up. However, the implementation of the package that launched this process has been frozen for six months precisely in order to allow a period of grace.

However, if, in principle, the Republic of Serbia could become independent by May, if the process is launched in May, it will be completed by October, just in time for the general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Russians are in the pantry again

It is so certain that Budapest will ensure Serbia’s accession to the European Union with its full support. This was stated several times by Péter Szijjártó, for example, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Budapest last May. The Hungarian foreign minister swung that the Hungarian government would soon sign a 15-year gas supply contract with Gazprom to bypass Ukraine, announcing that a significant part of the annual volume would come from Serbia in October, as the Serbian-Hungarian interconnector was completed. And we are back in the energy sector.

A day later, Jadranka Joksimovic, Serbia’s minister responsible for European integration, arrived in the Hungarian capital, and Szijjártó, who received her, said:

There is no strong European Union without enlargement and no enlargement without Serbia.

Thus, there is a strong partisanism in Serbia in Hungarian foreign policy, and one aspect of this seems to be Dodik friendship. In December, a few days after the adoption of the breakaway package in Banja-Luka, Péter Szijjártó assured Dodik on Facebook of his support for Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock. The German politician has suggested that sanctions should be imposed on Dodik for separatist aspirations.

(…) it is worth noting: Hungary will not give its support to any sanctions against the leader of the Bosnian Serb, Milorad Dodik. If there is such a proposal, we will veto it

written by the Hungarian Foreign Minister.

However, it cannot be said that the division of Europe and the development of internal conflicts within the Union would be in Hungary’s interest. But Russia is all the more so.

(EUobserver/The standard/Investigation)

(Cover image: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (j) and Ambassador Olivér Várhelyi on October 19, 2017. Photo: MTI / European Council / Mario Salerno)

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