President of Republika Srpska, Željka Cvijanović, has told Srna that the Austrian “non-paper”, called “EU Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Beyond Existing Templates”, which also suggests “gradual” accession of Western Balkan countries to EU, seems as a sensible proposal.

“If we want to be realistic, then it is clear that at this moment neither the countries of the Western Balkans nor the EU itself are ready for a new classic enlargement of the EU. I support the idea of ​​finding a new matrix to make that path to membership more realistic, because that is not what it is today, despite all the messages that express the commitment of both sides to make it happen.

Whether it would happen exactly this way as stated or with some variations, it doesn’t matter. It is obvious that the current template for accession has been outdated and does not offer much optimism for everyone in the region to reach the goal set. That is why I think it is wiser to look for a way to ensure stronger connection between the candidates for membership and the EU institutions until the conditions for the real admission of new members are met,” Cvijanović pointed out.

She emphasized that she supported any proposal that would realistically fill that vacuum, but that it was likely that such proposal would meet with suspicion from some countries in the Western Balkans and resentment that it was a consolation prize for uncertain membership.

In her opinion, it is better to move a little than not at all, and it is up to the EU member states to decide on this offered model.

“It is good that the countries of the Western Balkans are called a key partner of the EU, and it is bad that this area is persistently approached by the wrong methods. The idea of ​​gradual integration is not entirely new and the war in Ukraine has probably accelerated the thought that something, at least, is done in that regard in our region, when major progress cannot be made”, said Cvijanović.

When asked by Srna how the imposition of the decision on the financing of the elections by Christian Schmidt fit into the narrative of BiH’s integration into the EU, the President of Srpska answered that it did not appear to fit at all.

“They keep talking about how democracy is supposedly defended because it ensures the holding of elections, and they intervene with undemocratic methods by an unelected foreigner who would like to act above democratically elected institutions. Everything in BiH is a farce, including this. The reputation of BiH and foreign factor that acts here has degraded”, Cvijanović emphasized.

She pointed out that it should be seen whether the complete collapse of the credibility of both could be prevented, because what was on the scene lead to a complete fall.