Leaders of Republika Srpska, the smaller entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), have once again proven that they cannot be reasoned with when it comes to providing a better future for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including their own constituents. Ethnic Serb leaders initially blocked the participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Erasmus program, a European scholarship program. They did so because they want to be treated as a separate state and refused to allow the establishment of a state-level agency that would co-ordinate the program with the block. Yesterday, they announced they will participate but only under the condition that education is the exclusive competence of the RS entity even if the program is run at the state level of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Their actions jeopardize the future of all young people in BiH, including students from the RS entity who may not have been able to take advantage of the opportunities to further their education as part of this renowned program. The fact that participation in this EU program was even a controversy exemplifies the extremism that prevails in the RS entity whose leaders continue to pursue a separatist, nationalist agenda and seek to undermine all state institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. How long will the international community sit idly by and allow the ethnic Serb leadership to roll back all progress that has been made since the end of the war?
We urge the U.S. and the E.U to take urgent action to sanction the RS leadership and fulfill their obligation under the Dayton agreement to protect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Failure to do so will have potentially devastating consequences because the future of Bosnia will impact not only its own stability as a nation, but the entire region of the Balkan Peninsula.
CNAB Board of Directors