EU slams Bosnian politicians for putting nationalist rivalry ahead of reforms

EU slams Bosnian politicians for putting nationalist rivalry ahead of reforms
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia December 4, 2017

The European Commission and the EU member states are deeply concerned by the lack of progress on key reforms in Bosnia & Herzegovina, the EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a statement on December 4 on the occasion of his visit to the country.

Strong political disagreements have stalled critical reforms in Bosnia this year and even have led to the freezing of a much-needed loan from the International Monetary Fund.

"While the European Union is more committed than ever to support Bosnia and Herzegovina on its EU path political leaders both in government and in opposition seem more concerned with the usual nationalistic themes and talk about "crisis" instead of focusing on the real work at hand," Hahn said in a statement ahead of the visit.

Hahn has also said that he try to persuade all politicians in the country to fulfil their promises from the Reform Agenda signed back in 2015.

“The only way to move forward in the EU integration process is to achieve concrete results on reforms.  This includes delivering on the Reform Agenda measures, create jobs, strengthening of rule of law and improving the quality and efficient of public administration. It also includes adopting the necessary country-wide strategies, such as on agriculture, in order to benefit from extensive EU financial assistance. This, instead of a divisive rhetoric, will contribute to move the country closer to the EU and, above all will directly benefit citizens of Bosnia & Herzegovina,” Hahn said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Bosnia’s tripartite presidency issued a statement after a meeting with Hahn, saying that the country will meet its obligation to complete a questionnaire on its readiness to join the EU by the December 15 deadline.

Bosnia formally applied for EU membership in February 2016 and was hoping to get candidate status in 2017. However, disagreements between the institutions of the country’s smaller entity – Republika Srpska – on the one side, and the Muslim-Croat Federation and the central level authorities on the other have threatened Bosnia’s European future several times and have led to significant delay in completing the questionnaire.