“BiH has to demonstrate that it is capable of reaching an agreement on difficult political issues and start making progress on the path towards the EU”, said Wigemark.
The EUSR believes that the majority of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are tired of quarrels and politicians’ inability to reach an agreement.
“It is my opinion that they want to see governments and parliaments which are capable of making difficult decisions without endless discussions and delays. Next four years will be very important for BiH. Some even claim that this is the last opportunity for political circles in BiH to show that they are worthy of their support”, the EUSR explained.
Commenting on the electoral process in BiH, Wigemark said that authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina needed to work between two election cycles on implementation of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ recommendations for improving the implementation of elections in the country.
“My personal opinion is that many of those recommendations as to how to improve the election process in BiH need to become an important part of the European Commission’s opinion (about country’s EU membership request), and condition for continuation of country’s integration in EU. Without strong election framework and trust in the outcome of elections, the very essence of democracy is undermined and BiH cannot meet conditions for membership in the EU”, said Wigemark.
Head of the EU Delegation to BiH also reminded that the European Commission would present its opinion about BiH’s membership request in 2019.
Wigemark said that Bosnia and Herzegovina was yet to submit answers to follow-up questions from the European Commission’s Questionnaire, and noted that while other countries in the Western Balkans had accelerated their path towards the EU while waiting for the EC’s opinion, there was a slowdown in BiH.
“Some slowdowns have been undoubtedly caused by the most recent elections, but BiH should now do the homework without further delays”, said Wigemark.
He concluded that the process of transformation was as important as the EU membership itself, adding that numerous changes needed to happen in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the country became an EU Member State.
“Unfortunately, we sometimes notice that authorities at different levels, including many politicians, believe that somehow ‘someone else’ is the one who should take responsibility for European integration. And they are not informed well enough about what is needed to meet the EU standards. EU and our Member Countries are ready to share their experiences about the contents of this process, and those who are seriously interested in European integration should be open for that kind of advice”, concluded Wigemark.