Sarah questions Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso about reform in Bosnia
Sarah Ludford (ALDE):
Chris Patten said the danger in the Balkans is that they pretend to reform and the EU pretends to believe them.
That seems to be happening in Bosnia which is sliding alarmingly towards dysfunction if not destruction. The international community and the EU are perceived in Bosnia as failing to insist on reforms and failing to stand up to Milorad Dodik Republika Srpska leader. The office of High Representative while it still lasts has been undermined and the authority of the international community weakened.
How would you answer the charge that the EU is running an agenda in the Western Balkans which is to the benefit of the Serbs in Belgrade and Bagna Luca - with the Bosniacs the losers?
Will you encourage the new High Representative and when she is confirmed Vice-President of the Commission Cathy Ashton to make Bosnia an absolutely top priority? How will you ensure that the EU's special representative has real leverage a clear mandate and the united support of the EU behind him or her?
José Manuel Barroso (President of the Commission):
First of all let me tell you that I fully share the concerns expressed regarding the situation in Bosnia. In fact it is becoming an extremely difficult matter. We are discussing this with the Bosnian authorities and with all the relevant players within and outside of Europe.
Of course my answer to you is yes I hope that Cathy Ashton will devote great attention to it together with the Commissioner for enlargement because Bosnia as you know is in the European Union's area of potential enlargement. Certainly we have to do everything to be sure that the country establishes itself on its own feet and that it is able to consolidate its existence as a full state a democratic state that has aspirations one day to join our Union.