A "non paper" sounds the alarms in the Balkans

The alleged sending of a non-diplomatic note by Slovenia indicating the breakdown of Bosnia and Herzegovina causes a stir from Sarajevo to Brussels.


If we put together in a test tube a "non paper"-a diplomatic document without letterhead, stamp or signature-of two folios indicating the dissolution of a State and adding key reconfigurations on a border issue, the result can be somewhat chaotic. This happened at the beginning of April when, according to Slovenian media, the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansa, sent an unofficial document to the European Union in which he proposed "redrawing" the borders of the former Yugoslavia and "dissolution" of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Something that, for more than obvious historical reasons, has caused a great stir within and outside the region.

The solutions outlined in the unofficial note propose to improve the social and ethnic situation caused by the war and the subsequent Dayton accords. The two-page document contains the union of the Bosnian Serb entity (Republika Srpska) with Serbia, the merger of the Croatmajority cantons with Croatia and the creation of a new Muslim State for the Bosnian territories. The most striking thing on this last point is that the Bosnian state could have the influence of the European Union or outside the Union (Turkey), provoking possible dramatic situations after the entrenchment in the area of a radical Islam promoted by Ankara.

This plan is equivalent to the total decomposition of Bosnia and Herzegovina as it was collected after the controversial Dayton accords. The signing of this agreement in 1995 saw the creation of a federation divided into two entities with considerable independence: the BosniaCroatia Federation and the Republika Srpska. Each has its own government, legislature and police force, but both are united in a central government and a rotating three-person presidency occupied equally by a Bosnian, a Croat and a Serb.

The "non-paper" continues to indicate the unification of Kosovo and Albania. This plan has historically been claimed by various Albanian and Kosovar political leaders (including Albin Kurti, the current Prime Minister of Kosovo) as more than 90 per cent of Kosovo’s 1.8 million inhabitants are ethnic Albanians. The note also states that the borders between the two countries do not exist de facto. He then pointed out that the Serbian part of Kosovo would be given a special status, as was the case with the Italian region of South Tyrol. In the two pages that form the ambitious document no mention is made of Montenegro and North Macedonia, also with ethnic differences.

The three members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina warned of the dangerousness of the document, stating that any change in the State could lead to war.

Officials and experts from the rest of the region, including Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro, warn that any attempt could also trigger new conflicts.

After such a stir in the Balkan area, Jansa immediately denied the information, but the controversy was already served. The Bosnian Presidency immediately summoned the Slovenian Ambassador to Sarajevo to show her its concern and rejection of that document. Days later from Ljubljana, in an attempt to calm things down, Slovenian President Borut Pahor recommended that the European Union implement the plan for the accession of the Western Balkans to the Union (Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo) to dispel "dangerous ideas" about a new border approach in the area.

The document would have been sent to Charles Michel, President of the European Council, as a proposal for the next presidency of the European Union that Slovenia will assume next July. According to Community sources consulted by the Reuters agency at Community level, the famous document would not have been discussed. The European Union delegation in Bosnia stressed in a statement that the Union "is committed to the sovereignty of Bosnia". Brussels has the EUFOR Althea BiH military mission where European soldiers advise the Bosnian army to make them look like a NATO army.

Although they do not know the existence of the document from Brussels, Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, says he saw it. The diplomatic soap opera continues and Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia, says he has never seen it.

Leaving the Balkans, Germany, with an important political role in the region, pointed through European affairs minister Michael Roth on Twitter: "The countries of the #Western Balkans have a future only as multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies. Regional reconciliation and cooperation are the keys to peace, democracy and prosperity. Drawing new borders is a dangerous path".

The United States, through its state department spokesperson, indicated that they support Bosnian sovereignty. The new Turkish ambassador in Sarajevo stressed that he also supports the sovereignty of Bosnia.


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