What's New(s)

What's New(s) - Focus on Bosnia - 17/12/2021

What's New(s) - Focus on Bosnia  - 17/12/2021

What´s New(s)? La revue de presse anglophone – Erik Ruiz Martín & Nadine Vermeulen

You'll find the script below:

A small focus on Bosnia Today, where you’re currently staying, because two days ago the Serbs decided to quit Bosnia’s key institutions. How did European media report on this decision?

Indeed Erik, European leaders reacted with concern when the Serbs in the lower house of parliament in BiH Republica Srpska voted on Saturday to pull out of the country’s armed forces, judiciary and tax system. Milorad Dodik, the Serb leader of the presidency of BiH, said this was “The moment of conquering the freedom for Republica Srpska”, he also stated that the country “is an experiment which cannot survive” quoted Euractiv. The EU, U.S., and U.K. immediately condemned the move, wrote POLITICO, warning it imposes threats on stability in the whole region. In a joint statement, they accused Republica Srpska politicians of challenging the Dayton Peace Accords, wrote the newspaper. The Guardian quoted U.S. officials, who are determined to “walk Bosnia back from the cliff”. 

And what do they predict for the months to come, can this lead to escalating tensions?

Well, opinions are divided as to whether Dodik’s nationalist moves and rhetoric will actually lead to an escalation. According to BiH experts quoted by Al Jazeera, aggressive diplomatic action by the U.S. and EU is urgently needed to address the secession threats by Bosnia’s Serb president. It quoted Bosnia’s High Representative Christian Schmidt who said that the prospects of further division and conflict are very real if the international community does not step in. But the international community, including the EU, has barely reacted, aside from issuing press releases, argued Al Jazeera’s reporter Mersiha Gadzo. In the same line, Deutsche Welle quoted Germany’s new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, who stated on Monday that the EU should slap sanctions to put more pressure on the Bosnian-Serb leader. According to various European academics, including Ivor Sokolic of the London School of Economics however, the continued talks about secession are just a tactic to obscure the real problems faced by ordinary citizens, including unemployment, and the COVID crisis, which has one of the highest death rates worldwide. 

But then moving on to Denmark, where former immigration minister Inger Støjberg was sentenced with 60 days in jail last Monday, since an order she issued in 2016 was ruled illegal.

Indeed, the Danish immigration policies have already made the news several times over the past years, and not in a positive way… The 'martyr' of migration policy in Europe is how Pedro Poza describes the Danish politician in El Mundo. As The Guardian notes, the minister ordered in 2016 the separation of 23 asylum-seeking couples in which the woman was a minor. She also ‘boasted’ of having passed more than 110 amendments restricting the rights of foreigners. Euronews highlights that Stojberg was also found guilty of providing parliament with "incorrect or misleading information", and reports that staff members within her ministry warned her that the practice was unlawful. The Parliament needs now to announce if she will be excluded as a member of the parliament adds Libération. Charlie Duxbury points out in POLITICO that the Danish minister was the same that granted border officials the authority to seize valuables to cover the cost of new arrivals’ stay in Denmark.

Then moving from one Danish minister to a Spanish one, what happened with the Labour Minister that created such a polemic? 

The Spanish Minister of Labour, Yolanda Diaz, met in the Vatican with Pope Francis, something that the Spanish right did not like very much, and that the secretary of communication of the Popular Party described it as a 'communist summit'. Francisco Reinoso emphasizes in El Diario de Jerez that the Spanish right, so Catholic and so Roman, has become anti-Vatican and anti-Pope. Along the same lines, Jesús Bastante in El Diario affirms that the Spanish right has made it clear on numerous occasions that Francis "is not their Pope". El Periódicode España points out that Yolanda Díaz wants to attract 13 million non-practicing Catholics in view of the next elections. The meeting, according to Onda Cero, was not organized by the government's mediation, which has also irritated President Pedro Sánchez. José Beltrán in La Razón suggests that Yolanda Díaz came off better from this visit than the one the president himself made to the pope in 2020. Laureano López accuses the government in La Voz de Galicia of wanting to make a pact with God after having made a pact with the devil, in reference to the government's pacts with pro-independence parties.