EU's Varhelyi urges Bosnian leadership to focus on reforms


Bosnia and Herzegovina has no time to lose, European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner said following the meeting with Bosnian state ministers, stressing the necessity to meet the priorities set by European Commission's Opinion on Bosnia's membership application.

Varhelyi arrived in Bosnia on Wednesday for a two-day visit, where he already met the Council of Ministers and Bosnia Presidency members. He is also set to pay a visit to Banja Luka, the country's second largest city and administrative centre of the Serb-majority Republika Srpska entity.

In the meeting with the Council of Ministers Chairman Zoran Tegeltija, finance minister Vjekoslav Bevanda and defence minister Selmo Cikotic, Varhelyi said Bosnia had no time to lose with the reforms to meet the European Commission's 14 priorities or with the economic and investment plan.

He told minister Cikotic that the Commission will continue supporting the efforts to address migration challenges, including asylum, effective border protection and returns.

Prior to this meeting, the commissioner met the members of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, Chairman Zeljko Komsic and members Milorad Dodik and Sefik Dzaferovic.

“We discussed the way forward: overcoming internal difficulties & deescalating tensions, fulfilling 14 key priorities on EU path. I want BiH to succeed & for that the country needs to work & function,” Varhelyi tweeted.

The Presidency Chairman said the EU official conveyed four important messages, one of them his expectation that the state-level institutions will be unblocked.

“Not only when discussing the accepting of the EU loans, but also in terms of the implementation of 14 key priorities from the European Commission's Opinion. As an example commissioner mentioned the new law on public procurement,” said Komsic.

According to him, Varhelyi also said he was expecting the enhancement of the state institutions and not their weakening, and Bosnia's further progress on the EU path.

The commissioner also met with leaders of the parliamentary opposition to discuss electoral reform and the need for BiH to deliver on reforms.

“Appreciate opposition’s support for EU path and count on their work within institutions,” he said.

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