Austrian diplomat Wolfgang Petritsch says the accession of the Balkans to the EU is possible in ten years’ time.

In the meantime, as he said, cooperation between the countries in the region, where he sees Serbia as a factor of stability, is becoming more and more important.

“Because of its size and economic importance, Serbia has a lot of responsibility for regional security, and a stable Western Balkans is impossible without its commitment,” Petritsch told the Belgrade daily Politika in an interview.

He added that Serbia is a neutral country with a European perspective that has rejected radical nationalism and ignored provocations of its neighbors.

Asked whether he was in favor of changing the Dayton Accord, Petritsch said that the peace deal that ended the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina has “outlived its usefulness.”

“What we need now is an agreement that comes from within and reflects the wishes of domestic people,” said Petritsch, who in the past served as high UN representative for Bosnia.

Petritsch added that he “does not support the secessionist referendum policy of RS President Milorad Dodik because he does not want it to become a small internationally isolated state.”

He said that Belgrade is “wise enough to oppose the aspirations of the independence of the RS (Serb Republic, Serb entity in Bosnia), because that would bring the region into a crisis and stop Serbia’s path towards European integration.”

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