Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mirko Sarovic met with Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative Lars-Gunnar Wigemark in an attempt to find a solution that would enable adoption of the state-level Rural Development Strategy.
Local media reported that BiH would lose European Union’s funds for agriculture if authorities in the country fail to adopt the Rural Development Strategy by the end of the year.
Ambassador Wigemark emphasized that the EU was prepared to help the farmers, arguing that the aid would become available only if strategic documents are adopted by the end of 2017.
Furthermore, the EUSR also reminded that draft of the document was highly regarded by European institutions, and expressed hope that the Government of the RS would soon acknowledge the importance of the document and provide necessary opinion.
Minister Sarovic noted that representatives of entity governments participated in creation of the framework Rural Development Strategy, and that the Strategy would fully observe responsibilities of the RS.
He reiterated that Bosnia and Herzegovina would suffer a long-term consequences of failure to adopt the Rural Development Strategy. “Each year we will lose at least EUR 30 million”, Sarovic explained.
At the same time, representatives of 20 association of farmers, mostly from the Federation of BiH, have threatened to block the country after the New Year’s holidays if the Rural Development Strategy is not adopted within the next two weeks.
Joint statement issued by farmers’ associations reads that they understand the international community’s requests and the need to build the transport infrastructure in the country.
However, they also believe that changes to the Law on Excise Duties should not have been adopted without the adoption of the Rural Development Strategy, which would partly alleviate consequences of increase in prices of fuel.