Michel is silent on unofficial doc discussing border adjustments in Western Balkans – EURACTIV.com


A shadow doc proposing controversial border adjustments within the Western Balkans triggered a political storm within the area and in Brussels this week. Whereas most EU officers had little information of the elusive doc, the workplace of European Council President Charles Michel couldn’t deny having obtained it. EURACTIV took a more in-depth look.

Thursday (April 15), some extent of sale based mostly in Ljubljana, necenzurirano.si revealed what he mentioned was a “ non-paper ” allegedly drafted by Prime Minister Janez Janša, or somebody near him, proposing potential border adjustments to deal with the lingering unease within the former -Yugoslavia, titled Western Balkans – A Means Ahead.

Janša denied writing the doc and his workplace, contacted by EURACTIV, mentioned he was “not commenting additional” on the matter.

The Bosnian media had been the primary to report on Monday that Janša handed over a doc containing pointers on the “definitive disintegration of the previous Yugoslavia” to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in February or March this yr.

Additionally they reported that Slovenian President Borut Pahor raised the potential “peaceable dissolution” of Bosnia and Herzegovina throughout a dialog with Bosnia’s tripartite presidency final month – one thing Pahor confirmed however insisted on. proven fact that his motivations had been totally different and that he remained absolutely in favor of the territory of Bosnia. integrity.


Following the Yugoslav wars of 1991-95 and American mediation, Bosnia and Herzegovina turned a federation divided into two entities having fun with appreciable independence: the Bosnian-Croatian Federation and the Republika Srpska.

Every has its personal authorities, legislature and police power, however the two come collectively in a central authorities and a rotating three-person presidency held equally by a Bosnian, a Croat, and a Serb.

After the 1999 NATO airstrikes in opposition to the remnants of then-Yugoslavia, the previous Serbian province of Kosovo was established as a separate entity, which unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Nonetheless, the north Kosovo, made up of 4 Kosovo Serb-majority municipalities, largely escapes Pristina’s management.

Non-paper content material

EU establishments and member states sometimes share confidential however unofficial non-papers as steered speaking factors or potential frameworks for dialogue on delicate matters as a way to decide frequent floor.

The doc proposes “options” which included “the unification of Kosovo and Albania” and as a counterweight, “to unite extra of the territory of Republika Srpska with Serbia”, basically redrawing the borders alongside strains. ethnic.

The Croatian drawback in Bosnia and Herzegovina could be solved by both becoming a member of the predominantly Croatian cantons of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia or granting them a particular standing “following the mannequin of South Tyrol”, the primarily German-speaking autonomous province of northern Italy. The identical standing is proposed for “the Serbian a part of Kosovo”.

Opening Turkey’s Door

In a referendum, “Bosnians can select between the longer term within the EU or exterior, like Turkey,” say the undocumented.

Turkey is especially within the area, however the EU has by no means thought-about lowering its ambition for enlargement within the Western Balkans in favor of Ankara.

As well as, the non-paper alludes to “silent procedures” that are “underway” to incorporate the administration of plans by “regional choice makers” and “worldwide group choice makers”.

In an earlier Croatian paper, International Minister Gordan Grlić Radman known as for extra assist for Bosnia, particularly for its efforts to enhance the “fragmented political panorama and environment of distrust” that prevails amongst Bosnian political representatives, and pleaded for EU candidate standing for the nation,

Slovenia was among the many signatories, as had been Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Hungary.

Michel’s non-denial

Requested for agency affirmation or denial that the Slovenian newspaper was obtained by Michel’s workplace, whether or not via official channels or not, his spokesperson instructed EURACTIV he “couldn’t remark” on its reception.

The European Fee and its diplomatic service (EEAS) weren’t conscious of the alleged non-paper on borders within the Western Balkans.

“The EEAS has not obtained it, it has no information of its contents past what has been reported within the media,” EU chief spokesperson Peter Stano instructed EURACTIV, requested in regards to the doc.

EU diplomats ‘ignore’

Brussels and EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell have repeatedly harassed the EU’s want to see a dedication to reforms from Bosnian officers that “would enable the nation to maneuver ahead in direction of the EU. “.

Some analysts additionally steered that the Slovenian leaders could have sounded out the extent of dissatisfaction with Bosnia among the many “greater gamers”, and even on their behalf, throughout the EU.

Nonetheless, 5 European diplomats contacted by EURACTIV mentioned they had been formally unaware of the doc’s existence as a result of it “was not launched via official channels”.

In diplomatic apply, which means that its existence will be publicly denied at any time.

“This non-paper has not been mentioned amongst member states. It has not been formally distributed both, ”a European diplomat instructed EURACTIV.

“It seems like provocative actions and disinformation,” mentioned one other EU diplomat, however declined to take a position who may need an curiosity in spreading such disinformation.

A problematic presidency?

Slovenia will assume the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU on July 1, so the timing for Pahor and Janša’s statements is especially impactful as that is when a extra concrete dialog about the way forward for the Western Balkans is foreseen at EU degree.

Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon (S&D), chief of the second largest opposition get together, the Social Democrats, within the Slovenian Nationwide Meeting, mentioned in an announcement on Thursday that “the answer for the Balkans is a transparent European perspective , with out transferring the borders ”.

Fajon warned of some European leaders who promote “disruptive concepts and nationalist tendencies, and with little diplomatic actions, they overwhelm the already fearful inhabitants with further issues.”

“Any concept, as we hear them, of fixing and transferring borders between nations, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has suffered essentially the most harm, is a particularly harmful choice”, added the European legislator.

Fajon just lately upset Bulgaria by throwing a lethal modification to a European Parliament decision, sharply criticizing Sofia for blocking the beginning of membership negotiations with North Macedonia, whereas praising Skopje’s “mature” place.

The modification was rejected in plenary, however unfavourable apprehensions for the Slovenian presidency stay, Bulgarian commentators mentioned in Sofia.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic/Georgi Gotev]

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