news 22 Jun 12

Minorities 'Left Out' of Bosnia's EU Integration

Ethnic minorities, Roma especially, are failing to benefit much from Bosnia's EU integration process, a conference in Sarajevo heard.

Elvira Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo
  Sanela Besic and Dervo Sejdic / Photo by RIC

Minorities are failing to benefit from the country's EU integration process, Bosnia's Council of National Minorities, CNM, and the Roma Information Center, Kali Sara, RIC, have said.

After a conference on the issue on June 21 in Sarajevo, Nedzad Jusic, president of the CNM, told Balkan Insight that too little cash from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, IPA - financial assistance for potential EU members - was going towards national minorities. “We want more projects implemented on the local level,” he said.

He added that Bosnia's laws regulating minority rights were good - the problem was that they were not being implemented.

Sanela Besic, from RIC, agreed that ethnic minorities, especially the Roma, were not gaining from Bosnia's EU integration process.

“I can't talk about benefits if representatives of Roma non-governmental organizations are not directly involved in the whole process,” she told Balkan Insight, adding that Wednesday's conference urged this practice to be changed.

“European lawmakers and decision-makers in the EU also said they are not satisfied, not only with the projects in Bosnia, but in general with the implementation of [IPA] projects,” Besic said.

“The IPA criteria should change, so that the less money is spent on administration and more on the real users," she added.

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