Slovenia wants to be Bosnia and Herzegovina’s greatest ally and will therefore provide it with all possible assistance on its path to the European Union, Prime Minister Robert Golob announced on Monday in Sarajevo, after a meeting with the Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Borjana Krišto. Slovenia will allocate an additional million euros from the state budget for technical assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Golob announced. Is it just a coincidence that he started talking about the million euros in question just a few days after we reported that the Bosnian secret service would soon expose Golob’s Balkan business?
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has a historic opportunity to take advantage of the changed circumstances,” said Prime Minister Robert Golob, who is on an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, announcing both technical and financial assistance for Bosnia and Herzegovina from Slovenia on the country’s European journey. “Slovenia wants to be not only a friendly country, but your biggest ally, and we will offer all possible help for you to be able to take advantage of this historic opportunity, from experts to financial resources,” he said, advising the country to resolve the easiest of the 14 points first. This, Golob said, is the easiest way for the Sarajevo authorities to demonstrate to Brussels their sincere desire for progress.
Golob explained that the Slovenian government had set aside an additional 1 million euros in the budget for technical assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina. “This money will support the first activities in the field of national statistics and international crime prosecution. The Slovenian police have excellent relations with the Bosnian police, and we would like to raise this cooperation to the level of harmonising legislation,” he also said, according to the Slovenian Press Agency. The Western Balkans and the credible continuation of the EU integration process is a long-term priority of Slovenia’s foreign policy and was, therefore, also a priority for Slovenia as the holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Slovenia hosted the EU-Western Balkans Summit in 2021, which was the culmination of Slovenia’s EU presidency. At the Summit, the then-Prime Minister Janez Janša pushed for a clearer European perspective on the Western Balkans – Slovenia tried to include in the declaration a commitment that the European Union would welcome all the countries of the Western Balkans by 2030, but in the end, this did not happen. However, the EU is prepared to help the region financially. The EU is expected to provide a 30-billion-euro package – its largest ever – in return for accelerating reforms and easing tensions in the Balkans.
On Monday in Sarajevo, Golob, on his first official bilateral visit abroad, also met representatives of both houses of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament and members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency to discuss, among other things, bilateral relations and ways to build on them. The Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Borjana Krišto, pointed out that the focus of the Council of Ministers is also regional cooperation, as well as maintaining and strengthening good neighbourly relations. She reiterated that Bosnia and Herzegovina has traditionally had good relations with Slovenia in all segments of life and that Slovenia is also among the top three foreign investors in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
So good relations between the two countries are nothing new, nor is Slovenia’s commitment to bringing the countries of the Western Balkans into the European Union as soon as possible. But it is a bit strange that the current Prime Minister Golob has promised a million euros to Bosnia just a few days after we reported that the Bosnian secret service had compiled the information on Golob’s Gen-I business in Bosnia and Herzegovina – which contains a lot of new info about illegal transactions, we have learned.
Golob is also well known in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When he came under the scrutiny of the media after announcing his candidacy for Prime Minister, an incriminating tape of a conversation about percentages, which allegedly happened in a deal to build two hydroelectric power plants on the Neretva River, was leaked again. The Bosnian company was 51 percent owned by IGES, of which Golob was a director, through an intermediate company. Robert Golob was also allegedly involved in the deal personally, bypassing the Istrabenz and Gorenje consortium for 15 percent of the value of the deal. In addition, Golob’s pledging has once again caused a great deal of citizen outrage – there have been a number of strikes in Slovenia recently, but Golob cannot find any money for the people protesting. “And where did Prime Minister Golob find this million euros, when he has none for farmers, for school lunches, for pensioners, for the disabled?” said, among others, MEP Jože Tanko, while others joked that now we only have 99 million to invest in the recently announced space programme.