Participants in a conference of the Working Group on the Western Balkans of the European Committee of the Regions condemned European Council's decision to block the opening of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, on Tuesday.
The conference, held in Mostar, in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, also called on politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina to form a government and continue with reforms on the journey to the EU, including holding local elections in Mostar and other parts of the country.
The decision by the European Council not to open entry talks with North Macedonia is a historically bad decision for the EU and affects its credibility and citizens' trust in it, the head of the working group, Franz Schausberger, told reporters.
Schausberger, who visited Mostar as a special envoy of Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, explained that this was an official position of participants in the conference, which also included Nikola Dobroslavic and Matija Posavec, heads of Croatia's Dubrovnik-Neretva and Medjimurje counties.
Schausberger said that holding local elections next year was a priority.
It is a question whether Mostar should have a special status in relation to all other towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina as we can see that citizens live together in peace, and that life here is normal just as in other towns across Bosnia and Herzegovina. It should definitely be investigated whether it is possible to hold elections in Mostar in the same way as in other local government units, Schausberger said.
The Special Representative of the EU in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Johann Sattler, called on the country's politicians to finally form a government more than a year after parliamentary elections, linking that issue with the country's progress on its journey to the EU.