news 26 Nov 12

EU's Fule To Judge Bosnia's 'Road Map' Progress

Bosnian leaders are to meet Europe's Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fule, on Tuesday, after five months in which few promised reforms were undertaken.

Elvira M. Jukic

The European Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Fule, will meet Bosnian authorities on Tuesday in Sarajevo for another high-level meeting on Bosnia's EU integration process.

But, as key long-awaited reforms have not been undertaken in the given period of five months since the first meeting, his assessment is unlikely to be very positive.

“We did not complete the reforms that we promised,” Nebojsa Radmanovic, chairman of the Bosnian Presidency, said on November 23, answering Balkan Insight's own question on whether there would be good news to report following the Tuesday meeting.

However, recalling the first high-level meeting over the same issue on June 27, he said the working atmosphere had improved now that there was a new parliamentary majority based on a political agreement between Bosnia's six ruling parties.

“I said in the first place that it was unrealistic that we could complete the constitutional changes in the given deadline,” Radmanovic said referring to the first obligation in the so-called "Road Map" that Bosnia received on June 27 in Brussels.

The first constitutional changes that Bosnia has to make to satisy the EU concern implementation of the Sejdic-Finci human rights ruling.

This 2009 European Court of Human Rights ruling told Bosnia to change its constitution in order to allow ethnic minorities to run for top governing posts that are currently reserved for members of the three largest ethnic groups, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.

“We will see how ready are we to change the constitution now, and to move towards the EU,” Radmanovic concluded.

An EU delegation to Bosnia said in a press release on Friday that Fule's visit to Sarajevo will focus on implementation of the Road Map agreed on 27 June and on the necessary follow-up.

“This visit, coming only few weeks after the publication of the Commission's Progress Report... is another signal... for the authorities of BiH to proceed with the necessary reforms for the country's progress on the integration path,” the EU delegation said.

Another task from the Road Map is definition of an efficient EU coordination mechanism, which will specify the precise obligations and authorities of institutions at all levels of government in the country. This has now been done.

The Bosnian Directorate for European Integration, DEI, recently told Balkan Insight that the state government at the end of October had decided to form a team to draw up an efficient coordination mechanism, and the team had finished the job in less than two weeks.

Bosnia also sent answers to two lists of questions from the EU by October 31, which met the EU Road Map deadline.

However, implementation of the Sejdic-Finci ruling still remains the main stumbling block, impeding substantive progress towards EU integration.

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