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news 25 Jan 13

EU Warns Bosnia Over Human Rights Ruling

If Bosnia fails to act fast on the 2009 'Sejdic and Finci' rights ruling, Brussels may not recognise the next Bosnian elections, the EU Enlargement Commissioner has warned.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Speaking to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fule on January 24 said that Bosnia's failure to implement the Sejdic-Finci ruling is keeping a Stabilization and Association Agreement, SAA, and a credible EU membership application on hold.

The European Court of Human Rights ruling of December 2009 told Bosnia to change its constitution to allow ethnic minorities to run for top governing posts currently reserved for Bosniaks [Muslims], Serbs and Croats.

“A year before the [next] elections is not the ideal time for compromises, but Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a choice,” Fule said, adding that the next elections would not be seen as meeting European standards if the issue was not solved.

Fule said it was mistaken to think that the EU would eventually lower the bar for a credible membership application if Bosnia failed to meet EU standards on key issues such as the 2009 rights ruling.

“It is equally not true that procrastinating on the Sejdic-Finci ruling implementation will lead to a situation that is more conducive to a solution after the elections,” Fule said, “because we would not consider such elections up to the necessary standards”.

Bosnian leaders have failed to implement the ruling for more than three years now, and it has since become one the main obstacles to advancing Bosnia's hopes of eventual membership of the European Union.

So far, several proposals for changing the Bosnian constitution have been floated, but a commonly agreed solution remains elusive.

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