news 04 Feb 13

EU 'Losing Patience With Bosnia', Official Says

The EU office in Bosnia has announced a new round meetings aiming to pressurise Bosnian decision-makers to implement a key human rights ruling.

Elvira M. Jukic

After the EU delegation to Bosnia announced a fresh round of meetings with Bosnian leaders on implementation of a key human rights ruling, a senior EU official in Sarajevo on February 1 said Europe's patience was running out fast.

“We have lost a bit patience, to be honest,” the unnamed official said, speaking off the record. “There's been a total lack of political will... You should not expect different treatment for Bosnia than for other countries which want to get into the EU.”

The official said a solution nevertheless has to be homegrown, and the the EU will not impose its own amendments to the Bosnian constitution in line with the ruling.

The 2009 "Sejdic and Finci" ruling by the European Court of Human Rights told Bosnia to change its constitution to allow minorities to run for top governing post currently reserved to the three largest ethnic groups, Bosniaks [Muslims], Serbs and Croats.

“I don't want to lead a group of empty talks,” the official said, adding that next week will see bilateral meetings between EU officials and party representatives from whom Brussels hopes to see real engagement in the search for a solution.

Implementation of the Sejdic and Finci ruling is a key pre-condition for Bosnia to advance its EU membership hopes.

Only then can a Stabilization and Association Agreement, SAA, be put in force, and only then can the country submit a credible EU membership application.

Noting that time is short, the official said talks would first start with the seven largest parties holding power at state level. They will also include smaller parties with seats in parliament.

“If this thing fails, don't expect anything to happen [about EU membership] before 2015,” the same official said, elaborating also about the penalties that the EU could use for recalcitrant politicians, such as travel bans or freezing assets.

“The time for political discussion is over,” he concluded.

So far, there have been various attempts to implement the human rights ruling but all have foundered on the opposition of one party or another.

While a consensus on the 2009 ruling eludes Bosnia's state-level parties, Sarajevo Canton recently acted on its own, changing its cantonal constitution to allow “others” to elect an additional deputy to the leadership of the cantonal assembly.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

27 Oct 16

Crime Reporter's Trial Opens in Montenegro

Crime reporter Jovo Martinovic has gone on trial in Montenegro, accused of participating in a drug trafficking ring.

27 Oct 16

Serbia’s ‘Huge’ Tax Burden is a Myth

26 Oct 16

Belgrade's Festival Offers Trip to Planet Jazz

Premium Selection

27 Oct 16

Bosnia Federation Under Fire Over Rushed Privatizations

Bosnia’s Federation entity is accused of hurrying sales of state-owned assets at knock-down prices on the stock exchange to get hold of instant cash.

26 Oct 16

Russia Security Chief Advocates Closer Ties to Serbia

Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev has visited Belgrade amid speculation about Russian intrigues in Montenegro - and following alleged leaks from the Serbian police to a foreign intelligence service.

24 Oct 16

Traces of Empire: Serbia’s Roman Heritage