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News 25 Apr 12

Fule Calls Bosnian Brussels Summit on EU Tasks

EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule has proposed that Bosnian politicians meet in Brussels to discuss the distribution of EU obligations in the divided country.

Elvira Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Fule said in Sarajevo on April 24 that Bosnian politicians should come to Brussels and sort out a programme of coordination of EU-related issues.

He said agreement was needed between all the relevant parties about the nature and the distribution of obligations in the process of EU integration for Bosnia.

“I have made a proposal to politicians... later this year, hopefully by the summer, to start a high-level dialogue on the accession process,” Fule said, “to make sure that Bosnia speaks with one voice on EU integration.”

Fule told reporters in Sarajevo that the programme of EU integration for Bosnia depended on local political leaders and not on the EU.

“I hope to see all relevant politicians coming to Brussels where we would tell them not what kind of programme they need but why it is important to have it,” Fule said.

At the moment, Bosnia does not have an agreed programme on EU integration and a system of coordination for EU-related issues, both needed for the country to speak with one voice with Brussels.

Fule cautiously welcomed statements by Bosnian politicians who said that they will submit a membership application by the summer.

“I am enthusiastic for Bosnia to apply for the EU membership,” Fule said. “But I hope to see the Stabilization and Association Agreement, the SAA, entering into force before that.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the SAA with the EU in 2008 but the agreement was never put into force owing to several conditions that the Balkan country did not fulfill.

Among them were adoption of the population census law and a state aid law, which will regulate conditions for assigning, control, implementing and the return of misused budget money in the country. Those two laws were finally adopted in February.

The other remaining worrying issue is the implementation of a human rights ruling which came after a Bosnian Roma and a Jew, Dervo Sejdic and Jakob Finci, sued Bosnia for violating their rights to run for the Presidency or the House of the Peoples of the state parliament.

The European Court of Human Rights, ECHR, in 2009 ruled that Bosnia has to change its constitution and allow the minorities to run for top governing posts, which are currently reserved for members of the the largest ethnic groups, Serb, Croats and Bosniaks.

Fule said the sooner that Bosnia changes its constitution the better, “because the rest of the region is moving forward”, he said.

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