Brussels, 21 March 2012
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Moving in right direction but further efforts needed
The Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met with Mr Bakir Izetbegović, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Brussels today, where they discussed the latest developments in the EU integration process of his country: "I had open and frank discussion with the Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Presidency Mr Izetbegović," Commissioner Füle said after the meeting. "I welcomed a number of recent positive developments in the country, including the adoption of the state aid and census laws which are crucial steps for progress on Bosnia and Herzegovina's European integration path."
Commissioner Füle underlined that the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU is within reach. For this to materialise, Bosnia and Herzegovina must make a credible effort to bring its Constitution into compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights in line with the Sejdić-Finci ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. He regretted that the Joint Parliamentary Committee tasked to do this has not yet reached an agreement on the necessary constitutional amendments.
During the meeting with Mr Izetbegović, Commissioner Füle encouraged Bosnia and Herzegovina to step up its efforts in addressing other outstanding key EU-related priorities: The adoption of the 2012 State budget law is urgent and important to ensure the financing of key institutions that play a role in EU integration such as the Anti-Corruption Agency. It is also essential that all authorities throughout BiH provide the necessary follow-up to the recommendations issued under the EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina Structured Dialogue on Justice and effectively implement all the reforms undertaken under the visa liberalisation dialogue. An effective co-ordination mechanism for EU matters needs to be established as a matter of urgency. This will ensure that EU rules and standards will be implemented equally across the country and that EU financial assistance will support the agreed priorities. Commissioner Füle also stressed the need to work jointly on improving infrastructure both within the country and in connecting it within the region.
Commissioner Füle concluded the meeting by reaffirming the EU's commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina's European future. "I hope this year will bring good news for the country. The EU will continue to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina with expertise and financial support. We want to see the country moving forward with the rest of the region. But Bosnia and Herzegovina's political representatives have to do their part."