MEPs concerned by slowdown in the adoption of EU-related reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina

EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

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European Parliament adopted a report assessing the latest progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina on the country’s path towards possible EU accession. 

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) called on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to proceed with constitutional, political and electoral reforms, to advance the EU integration process.

The European Parliament noted that, since the mid-2017, there was a noticeable slowdown in the adoption of EU-related reforms, despite the country’s commitment to the Reform Agenda.

MEPs also remain concerned by the widespread corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was shown by the last year’s general elections, and the preceding electoral campaign, that was once again dominated by ethno-nationalistic rhetoric and too focused on divisive issues linked to the past, rather than on proposing solutions to the daily concerns of the country’s citizens.

They also stressed the need for a rapid formation of the House of Peoples in the FBiH, in line with the rulings by the country’s constitutional court, while underlining that functioning democratic institutions - including the parliament - are a prerequisite for advancing the EU integration process.

The European Parliament also reiterated the need for Bosnia and Herzegovina to proceed with constitutional, political and electoral reforms to transform the country into a fully effective, inclusive and functional state based on the rule of law.

MEPs also demand a definite push by delegates in the country to finally agree on the rules of procedure for the EU-BiH Stabilization and Association Parliamentary Committee (SAPC), which has previously been impossible due to attempts to introduce ethnic blocking in the SAPC’s voting rules.

Furthermore, the European Parliament also called on all political actors to address the remaining legal gaps in the Election Law of BiH in a systematic way; remained concerned by the widespread corruption in BiH, and the persistent gap between the declared political will to fight it and the lack of concrete results; and reminded all political leaders and institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina that they had a responsibility to assess war-time events objectively.

MEPs also regret the lack of progress on freedom of expression and media independence, while emphasizing that producing and broadcasting TV and radio content in all official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina would contribute to protecting the country’s cultural diversity.

MEPs finally highlighted that the country’s EU membership application represented a strategic choice and a commitment, to advancing towards the EU.

European Parliament Rapporteur of Bosnia and Herzegovina Cristian Dan Preda said that the European Parliament remained a strong supporter of BiH’s European integration. “But we are worried by the marked slowdown in the pace of reforms and the general political situation following the October elections. Authorities at all levels must swiftly be formed, so that work can restart on a set of new EU-oriented reforms, both economic and political. If Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to obtain candidate country status soon, it needs to show not only commitment to the EU path, but also concrete results”, said Preda.

The report was adopted by 468 votes in favor and 123 against, with 83 abstentions.