After sending a message to the officials and participants of the 2019 World Democracy Forum in November to the President of the Republic of France, Emmanuel Macron, that their home was not a ticking bomb and that he was welcomed in BiH, a group of alumni of the Council of Europe’s School of Political Studies have officially sent a letter of invitation to Macron for a visit to Bosnia- Herzegovina.
And as announced on Thursday, the invitation was handed to the French President and a response was received, according to N1 news portal.
”Touched by your actions, the Head of State charged me to thank you. Be assured that he has received your kind invitation with interest. We will not miss to inform you about the eventual visit of Emmanuel Macron to Bosnia- Herzegovina. Please receive our heartfelt greetings, “ Macron’s office replied.
Young people from different parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina wrote earlier a letter in English, French and languages in BiH calling for Macron to face the present in the same way that people in Bosnia-Herzegovina are constantly calling for a confrontation with the past.
On November 8th, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a “ticking time-bomb” and the greatest concern for Europe in the Balkans due to what he said was its “problem of returning jihadists.”
“If you’re concerned about this region, the first question is neither Macedonia, nor Albania, it’s Bosnia-Herzegovina. The time-bomb that’s ticking right next to Croatia, and which faces the problem of returning jihadists,” Macron said.
Member of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željko Komšić responded to French President’s claim by stating that the number of foreign fighters from his country is small and that a much bigger security threat is keeping BiH outside EU and NATO.
Komšić also met with Ambassador of France to Bosnia and Herzegovina, informing him about the numbers of foreign fighters and their families, as well as BiH’s efforts in the fight against terrorism, N1 reports.
Other reactions were more harsh. Professor of Southeast European History and Politics at the University of Graz and BiEPAG coordinator Florian Bieber strongly criticized Macron’s statement on Twitter.
“The more Macron explains his views on the Balkans, the more it is clear that it is based on ignorance, bias and arrogance. Europe’s ticking time bomb is not Bosnia but in West European unwillingness to understand that Europe is bigger than just it’s Western half”, Bieber wrote.