EU blames Republika Srpska for blocking accession process

By bne IntelliNews June 11, 2015

Denitsa Mukova -

 

Bosnia’s Serb Republic – which together with the Muslim-Croat Federation makes up Bosnia and Herzegovina, has refused to sign the Reform Agenda required by the European Union as a step towards restarting the country’s long stalled EU accession process, according to a statement on the website of the EU delegation to the country.

“I welcome the adoption of the Reform Agenda by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina government yesterday and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina today and commitment to sign it. I call on the government of Republika Srpska to take similar steps as a matter of utmost priority,” the enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said in the statement.

In January, the Bosnian tripartite presidency approved a joint declaration signalling its interest in EU integration and its commitment to carrying out necessary reforms, sending it on to the parliament for approval. The declaration is seen as a prerequisite for the country to unfreeze the process of preparation for EU membership. 

In February, Bosnia’s parliament adopted the declaration, which includes a plan for political and economic reforms that should speed up its path toward EU membership.

According to the document, Bosnia’s institutions pledge to implement all reforms that are necessary to make state authorities functional and efficient. This should help the country meet all criteria for EU membership. The declaration also states that institutions will conduct economic and social reforms aimed at ending negative economic trends and launch a process of rehabilitation and modernisation of the economy. The specific measures would be identified in co-operation with the EU and international financial institutions.

Hahn said in his statement that he is cancelling his visit to Bosnia, scheduled for June 11, and urged all political and institutional leaders in the country to do everything in their power to finalise and start implementing the Reform Agenda.

“In this regard, I call on all Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to stand by their commitments, including to the European Union but most importantly towards their citizens. The country faces serious socio-economic challenges which require swift and bold decisions and actions putting the interest, stability and prosperity of the country and its citizens beyond party interests,” Hahn wrote.

In April, The Council of the European Union decided to unfreeze the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Bosnia, which entered into effect as of June 1.

 

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