EPP Members continue supporting the European Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina despite limited progress

The programme of the visit of the EP Delegation to Sarajevo for the 14th Bosnia-EP Interparliamentary Meeting started on Monday with a working breakfast with Ambassador Peter Sorensen, EU Special Representative and Head of the EU Delegation, together with Ambassadors of EU Member States and Croatia. In his introduction, Mr Sorensen recapitulated the political developments of the last two years in Bosnia saying that progress was very limited. In this context, he wondered whether the roadmap forBosnias EU accession was still valid. He also pointed out the problems that Croatias entry to the EU is causing i.e. in the export of Bosnian non-EU-certificated agriculture to a Member State. He also underlined the difficulties of negotiating with 161 ministers and governors due to the complex structure of the Bosnian state.

The meeting continued with a visit to the Presidency of BiH. Bekir Izetbegovic, the Bosniak Member of the Presidency, said that the country is moving along without a roadmap. The Presidency Member from Republika Srpska, Nebojša Radmanović, said that EU politicians care more about BiH than the local politicians. The question is whether BiH wants to move towards Europe. Politicians say yes but nothing is happening. The visit continued with the meeting of the Delegation with

Nikola Špirić, former Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and now Finance Minister, and Vjekoslav Bevanda, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 14th EP-Bosnia IPM opened with the introduction of Chairman Kukan: We are convinced that the country urgently needs to reinforce functionality of institutions at all levels and set effective coordination mechanisms in place. We are worried by the lack of political will in implementing the results of the June EU Roadmap Agreement, which are instrumental for the entering-into-force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

The 14th IPM concluded with a Joint Statement which was adopted after a lively discussion between the two delegations. Among others, the Joint Statement reiterates its call for an agreement on, and full compliance with, the ruling in the case Sejdić and Finci vs Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Joint Statement also called, following the positive experience of merging the offices of the EU Special Representative and of the EU Delegation, for the EUs presence in the country to be further enhanced, including in the fields of law enforcement, the rule of law and in economic matters. It also expressed concern about the political situation in the second half of 2012, which was characterised by a lack of progress in implementing political agreements; it also invited the authorities given that Croatias accession to the EU will also have bilateral implications to make all possible efforts to align relevant Bosnia and Herzegovina legislation at the different levels of government with EU legislation in the fields of veterinary, phytosanitary and food safety and to upgrade or construct the necessary infrastructure at a number of border crossings with Croatia in order to facilitate the border controls required by the EU; called on both the Croatian and the BiH authorities to align the agreement on free transit through the port of Ploce and the Neum corridor; called on the Croatian authorities to respect the sensitivity of Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding property issues and border demarcation.

– Theodoros Gorgitsopulous