Zovko: IPA III should not be used as a political tool

Strasbourg, 14 February 2023,


The European parliament held a debate during the plenary session in Strasbourg on a strengthened EU enlargement policy to the Western Balkans. The members addressed their questions to Commissioner Varhelyi who attended the discussion.

Vice Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Željana Zovko took the floor spoke about the latest situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She pointed at the recent formation of the Council of Ministers and underlined that they prioritise a more European agenda. She called for full support of the Commission to the new government and to help them to build the needed absorption capacity the country urgently needs. “Bosnia and Herzegovina should not lack behind and be left alone to be a political tool for those politicians in this Parliament that don’t have a clue what the people in Bosnia and Herzegovina need.” Zovko stressed and added that young people need to use EU support to get the country on a European line and to get rid of other interferences of third countries.

Zovko also questioned the knowledge of some colleagues about the constitutional framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina and stated that it is for political reasons that the country did not have complete access to the needed IPA funds. She explained that in the last term the IPA assistance that was subject to such a political blockade was even redistributed to other projects such as migration management. According to Zovko, a continued blockade will leave Bosnia Herzegovina as an orphan to this fund.

To conclude, Zovko asked the Commissioner to confirm that if the EU cuts funds for one part of the country, Bosnia and Herzegovina will not receive anything. Commissioner Varhelyi called this one of the big dilemmas as what happens on one side of the country has an impact on the other. The Commissioner however highlighted to be hopeful that the new government, that seems to have backing of all three constitutive people, will accelerate the needed reforms on the key priorities.


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