news 23 Oct 13

EU Report Rules out Sanctions on Bosnia

While lamenting Bosnia's lack of progress, the latest EU report says Brussels has no intention of imposing any solutions on the country, which are up to local politicians.

Elvira M. Jukic

The latest European Commission Progress Report on Bosnia, presented in Sarajevo on October 22, rules out imposing a solution from Brussels, as some had suggested might be the case.

Renzo Daviddi, deputy head of the EU delegation to Bosnia, said that among the key points of last week's report was the 2009 European Court of Human Rights rights ruling, which demanded constitutional changes.

“The Sejdic and Finci [case] will remain a political priority,” he said, referring to the ruling that obliged Bosnia to change its constitution and allows minorities run for top governing posts now reserved only for three largest ethnic groups, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.

Implemention of the December 2009 ruling has been a matter of dispute between Bosnia's ruling parties, which have failed to agree on changing the system of elections to the state-level presidency.

“It is now very clear that the EU alone cannot do their job,” Daviddi said, adding that it is up to Bosnian decision-makers to end the logjam.

EU efforts to bring the decision-makers to an agreement have not resulted in a consensus on how to change the constitution and so move forward with EU integration.

Repeated deadlines have been set to resolve the issue while the EU has organized three high-level meetings on Bosnia's stalled accession process.

The latest meeting was organized in the first half of October, but ended without success.

Some experts recently told Balkan Insight that following repeated failures to agree on implementation of the 2009 ruling, no further high-level meetings should take place.

But while they advocate the EU putting more direct pressure on politicians, and although EU officials have raised the issue of sanctions, the report makes it clear that sanctions are not under consideration.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina is sanctioning itself," Daviddi commented.

After the report was presented on Tuesday to state-level officials and officials of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of two entities in the country, on Wednesday the report will be presnted to the government of Republika Srpska, Bosnia's other entity.

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