news 16 Feb 16

Bosnia’s Leaders Warned Against Misusing EU Bid

Intellectuals and activists in an open letter have warned Bosnia’s leaders and citizens not to imagine that the EU membership application is more than ‘a formality’.

 Photo: Twitter.

Following Bosnia’s decision to apply for EU membership, a group of intellectuals and activists have called on the politicians not to misuse this historic step to advance their own careers.

“Today’s application for EU membership by leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina reaffirms the commitment of BiH to join the European family and respect European values and rules,” the group said in an open letter published on Monday.

“This step, however, should not be understood as a great step forward on the European path and BiH leaders should not be allowed to use this event to promote their own re-election.

The letter said Bosnian leaders “have so far failed to fully meet even a single condition set by the EU for an application … to be considered credible. For this reason, the very act of application has become, or has remained, a mere formality”.

The intellectuals and activists said Bosnia’s political elites have not met the promises they made during the 2014 elections when they obliged themselves to work towards stabilizing political, economic and social conditions in the country.

“Instead, they have been increasingly engaging in political quarrels that have nothing to do with protecting the ethnic or political interests of BiH, its ethnic groups or citizens, but are rather motivated by conflicting personal interests and mutual animosities among the people in power.

“The growing politicization and monopolization of executive, legislative and judicial institutions is threatening to push the country and its peoples, without any real reason and need, into even greater economic and social misery, into political chaos, and maybe into something even worse,” the letter continued.

It also warned that while the EU that it has "created a vision of a relatively stable and prosperous Balkans…
In the meantime, this illusion has been accepted as reality and is now being used by the same EU as an excuse for maintaining its weak and shallow engagement in BiH and the rest of the Balkans.”

The signatories include Adnan Huskic, Aleksandar Trifunovic, Darko Brkan, Edita Miftari, Jasminka Drino Kirlic, Ljuljjeta Goranci Brkic, Nerzuk Curak, Randal Puljek Shank, Srecko Latal and Zulka Baljak.

The letter demands first that Bosnia’s own leaders fulfill the required conditions so that the EU application can be considered credible, which includes resolving confusion about who is supposed to be coordinating matters.

"BiH politicians should finally stop playing increasingly dangerous political games and seriously focus on reform processes with full inclusion of all segments of BiH society,” the letter said.

It also called on the EU to “recognize recent developments in BiH as a serious warning, and acknowledge that this kind of application is not as an essential step forward by BiH, but as another local leaders’ ploy, which underlines the need for a much more concrete and serious EU engagement in BiH and the rest of the Balkans.

“The EU should as soon as possible start preparing a new and serious strategy towards BiH and the rest of the Balkans,” the letter said.

It finally called on Bosnia's citizens to “wake up from lethargy and stop hoping and expecting that someone else – be it local, regional, European, American, Russian, Turkish or some other leaders – will provide and guarantee the security and prosperity for which they themselves are not ready to work.

“It is exactly this general lack of interest, passivity and indifference in society, which gives BiH leaders the mandate to do whatever they want and use resources and institutions for personal benefit. If BiH citizens want to secure better living conditions… they should engage actively and remain engaged in creating a better environment.

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