The European Union must step up its engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the country cannot resolve on its own its internal political conflicts which escalated with the latest blocking of its institutions, European Parliament's rapporteur for Western Balkans, Croatian MEP Tonino Picula, told Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz.
"It's certain that without stronger engagement by European institutions, those conflicts won't be solved. BiH is a challenge which the EU must help to solve," Picula said in Thursday's issue of the Sarajevo-based Dnevni Avaz.
Picula added that he has been advocating that the EU "prove that it has the capacity to resolve complex foreign policy challenges in its neighbourhood." He strongly criticised Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and his decision to block Bosnia's political institutions, saying that it only works to worsen the crisis in the country.
"Anyone who supports Milorad Dodik assumes that Brussels and Washington don't understand their game, i.e. that they don't understand how they act via Dodik as a mediator. That is also obvious in the latest boycott of BiH institutions. That is also all in the background, making it impossible to utilise the Dayton agreement to unblock conflicts and actively seek a way out of the political crisis within the frame of the internationally recognised BiH,"
Picula said he expected Bosnian authorities to start meeting conditions for stronger European integration, and create a new reform agenda that would accelerate that journey.
He added that the European Parliament has supported opening EU membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in an upcoming summit of the Council of the EU and the Western Balkans in Zagreb in May.
Should this happen, he added, it would encourage other countries, notably Bosnia and Herzegovina, to take the same road.