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Germany Floats Document Proposing EU Sanctions Against Bosnian Serb Officials

The name of Milorad Dodik, the Serbian member of the Bosnian presidency, "will be at the top of that [sanctions] list," a senior EU official told RFE/RL.

Germany has raised the issue of sanctions against officials of the Serbian-majority entity that makes up part of Bosnia-Herzegovina who have threatened to unilaterally withdraw from state institutions established under the 1995 peace accord that ended the Bosnian War.

Berlin asked the European Union's European External Action Service (EEAS) to draft a document with proposals on sanctions against officials of the Republika Srpska, RFE/RL reported on November 17, citing diplomatic sources in Brussels.

The issue was discussed that day at a meeting of the bloc's political and security committee at the level of ambassadors of member states.

There was strong support for the document, which was also officially requested by the Czech Republic, sources confirmed to RFE/RL.

The sanctions are expected to cover people who "seriously endanger the security situation" or undermine the Dayton peace accords that created two entities in Bosnia, the Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. The country is still governed and administered along ethnic lines established by the agreement.

"If we agree, the name of Milorad Dodik will be at the top of that list," a senior EU official told RFE/RL.

The Bosnian Serb leader has been threatening to withdraw from state-level institutions, including Bosnia's joint judiciary, military, and tax administration. He has brushed aside international concerns that such an agenda could spark renewed conflict in the ethnically divided Balkan country.

The initiative was met with strong resistance from Hungary, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

Dodik, the Serbian representative in Bosnia's tripartite presidency, welcomed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to Republika Srpska for a brief visit on November 6.

The presentation of a document with proposed sanctions to the EEAS is a regular procedure that must be followed when raising the issue of sanctions against one country or entity at the EU level.

A decision on sanctions would require a consensus among all members.