Dodik's alliance with Europe's far right could spell trouble for Bosnia

NEWS 14.02.2019 21:37
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Source: N1

A recent meeting between the Chairman of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, hardline nationalist Milorad Dodik, and representatives of right-wing parties from Austria, Hungary and Italy and their announced cooperation, could be detrimental to Bosnia, experts told N1 on Thursday.

Dodik recently met with Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the Freedom Party of Austria and Italian Deputy PM and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is the Federal Secretary of the right-wing Northern League to discuss cooperation.

“Austria is not a NATO member country, but it is a member of the European Union,” Dodik said.

“That is a concept which we think should be applied here too. As for the Northern League, their President, Mr Salvini, is the Interior Minister. His project for solving the migrant crisis is interesting,” he added.

The right-wing PM of Hungary, Viktor Orban, is also expected to join the group, as well as former advisor to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, who would provide ideological guidance.

The leader of the Freedom Party of Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, said that the participants spoke about EU enlargement. Strache said he invited Dodik for an official visit to Austria.

Orban demonstrated during his recent address to the nation that he has his own vision of Europe.

“The European left is an advocate of speculation, world citizenship, a world government, global migrations, they turned into gravediggers of nations, families and the Christian way of life. That is what the European election is about and what Brussels is preparing for,” Orban said.

Experts told N1 the meeting represents a long-awaited political concentration but also an occurrence that is endangering the position of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“It is certain that the strengthening of such forces is very detrimental to Bosnia and Herzegovina, not only in the context of European integration, but that populism which forces within the EU are advocating is having a negative effect on Bosnia in regard to our image and potential danger that it could be detrimental to the relations within the country,” analyst Rasim Ibrahimagic said.

That new kind of “moralised nationalism and populism” is “some kind of basis for political power, for control over societies in the Balkans,” said Professor at the University of Vienna Institute for Political Sciences, Vedran Dzihic.

“Be it (Serbia’s President Aleksandar) Vucic, be it Dodik, or anyone else – they use that moralisation of the nation to confirm and strengthen their own power,” he said.

“I see there a kind of an ideological alliance which operates with a very simple system of values and that is a new kind of authoritarian populism or nationalism in which a new form of dichotomy is formed within local communities – be it in Republika Srpska or in Serbia – between those who belong to a morally clean community – meaning we are supporting Dodik so we are morally clean Serbs – and those on the other side, say those gathered around the ‘Justice for David’ movement or those currently protesting against Vucic in Serbia,” Dzihic said.

Experts believe that it would be dangerous for Bosnia if the new EU Enlargement Commissioner would be a representative of the extreme right, which would jeopardize the enlargement process.

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