Head of the EU Delegation to BiH Lars-Gunnar Wigemark gave an interview for Thursday issue of Dnevni avaz, speaking about the new EU Strategy for the Western Balkans and emphasizing its priorities.
“It points out the importance of good neighborly relations and cooperation in the region, rule of law, economic development and reconciliation. No country of the Western Balkans will achieve any progress without improvement of cooperation”, he underlined. Wigemark sees the rule of law as priority number one. He stressed that corruption is present everywhere, not only in BiH but in the whole region, which inflicts damage to everyone. “Nobody is immune to corruption. But it is not only unacceptable here, it is omnipresent, And it must be rooted out”, he concluded. “You have many professionals in judicial institutions of BiH who want to do their job. We are providing all necessary assistance. It is hard for judiciary anywhere to work if it is under a strong influence or pressure. We advocate in the Strategy the need to root out corruption and to form special investigative teams. Italy used to have problems with corruption and organized crime. They had to secure special prosecutors, give them strong police protection so they could do their job. It seems like BiH needs something like that”, he concluded.
According to Wigemark, there are serious considerations of bringing more experts in the rule of law sector to BiH, to cooperate and work with local staff. However, he stressed, “we neither can nor we want to impose solution”. Wigemark also stressed that there will be no imposing of “the EU Dayton” either. He emphasized that deadlock must not happen in any segment and that it would be very bad if BiH experienced blockades again. “If we are speaking about the Law on Elections, responsibility is on political leaders and parties. BiH is a sovereign country and there can be no imposing. The OHR’s intervention in this segment would mean a step backwards. Such important decision must come from BiH, on grounds of compromise and consensus”, he said, adding that the Central Election Commission (CEC) cannot solve this issue and that this is a solely political issue. “The Constitutional Court clearly said what has to be done in ‘Ljubic’ case. It is about several paragraphs. They do not affect the election process itself, but there is a side effect on the overall system if this is not solved”, said Wigemark, noting that he wonders if politicians want to solve this matter at all or if they prefer yet another political crisis. “I think they have will to find a solution, it is just not yet sufficiently expressed”, he added.