Newly-appointed European Parliament Standing Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portuguese MEP Paulo Rangel, told journalists in Brussels that political parties, leaders and members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina had to start building trust among each other.

Rangel noted that whenever he had visited Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was obvious that civil society and ordinary people were not involved in quarrels and heightening of tensions. 

I think they just want progress and prosperity, they want to have a better life, job and better salaries, not to emigrate in such dramatic numbers, to have protection and security. People do not want ethnic conflicts, they just want to live better. They deserve to live better”, said Rangel.

He noted that many considered Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a problematic state, when in reality - it was not. “Many other countries have problems similar to those in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and differences among ethnic groups. You have them in Spain, you have them in Belgium. But those countries are building system and society that can live with certain tensions, as well as with mutual respect”, explained Rangel.  

EP Rapporteur noted that he was aware people were disappointed with the EU’s decision not to approve the beginning of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, and assessed this decision as ‘big mistake’.

Talking about the migrant crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rangel said that the EU could have and should have done a lot more.

According to Rangel, cooperation needs to exist among state, entity and local authorities in the country, but those authorities cannot handle the migrant crisis on their own.

“We have failed in this regard. Financial aid is in place, but one has to work on other forms of assistance, for example send teams of experts who would try to resolve this problem with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, concluded Rangel.