Diplomatic rift with Germany to dash Bosnia’s hopes of securing EU candidate status

Diplomatic rift with Germany to dash Bosnia’s hopes of securing EU candidate status
Pro-Russian Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik says he will veto Germany’s new ambassador to Sarajevo.
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia September 5, 2022

Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency, said on September 5 he will veto the approval of the new German ambassador to the country, Thomas Fitchen, after his two fellow presidents disregarded his objection and accepted Fitchen's credentials.

There have been suggestions that the pro-Russian Serb leader could be blocking the approval of Germany’s new ambassador in an effort to stop the EU granting Bosnia candidate status, which the country has sought for years. 

Bosnia’s tripartite presidency consists of three members, one for each constituent peoples – the Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. In most cases, they can only approve decisions if all three members vote unanimously for them.

At the end of August, Dodik refused to vote to approve Fitchen's credentials to become Germany’s next ambassador to Bosnia, after announcing a blockade of all state-level decisions. The Bosnian Serb leader has done that many times in the past as part of his strategy to gain more approval among the population, especially prior to elections. The country will hold a general election on October 2.

In response, Germany gave Bosnia 48 hours to explain its decision and threatened a veto on its EU candidate status.

“The national assembly of Republika Srpska must take position on the issue of granting agrément to the German ambassador and I shall use the mechanism of vital national interest protection of Republika Srpska,” Dodik wrote on Twitter.

If Republika Srpska confirms Dodik’s claim that the vital interests of the Serbs are harmed, Dodik has the constitutional right to veto the approval of the ambassador’s credentials.

He claims that the ambassador should not be approved, because of what he claimed was Germany’s aspiration to “dominate” in Bosnia and jeopardise the interests of the Serb people and Republika Srpska.

Bosnia consists of two autonomous entities – the Muslim-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska.