Members of the European Parliament (MEP) adopted a report calling on the European Council to continue to back Bosnia’s EU aspirations, “including sending a positive political message on the granting of candidate status”, but noted that progress is only possible if BiH authorities “show political will and co-operate on EU-related reforms.” Pročitaj više
The report was adopted on Thursday by 50 votes in favour, 8 against and 12 abstentions.
According to a European Parliament (EP) press release, the MEPs recognise steps taken by the BiH government to address some key aspects of the European Commission’s report, “recalling that the effective functioning of independent and accountable democratic institutions is a prerequisite for advancing in the EU integration process, including for progression towards obtaining candidate status.”
They urged authorities, institutions, officeholders and political leaders in Bosnia to “prioritise reforms in the areas of democratic functionality, the rule of law, fundamental rights and public administration.”
The MEPs expressed “strong support” for Bosnia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence and condemned “any moves to undermine the country’s statehood and constitutional values, recalling that the path towards EU membership depends on a sustainable peace, stability and meaningful reconciliation that underpins the democratic and multicultural character of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
Bosnia must address shortcomings in its constitutional framework with reforms that would “transform the country into a fully-functional and inclusive state,” they stressed, calling on authorities in the country to make progress, preferably ahead of the 2022 general elections, through an EU-supported inclusive dialogue.
The MEPs reiterated the urgency of judicial reforms that would strengthen professionalism and accountability of the judiciary and called for “immediate steps to tackle widespread corruption and impunity in the public sphere, in order to rebuild citizen’s trust in the institutions.”
“The report also calls on the authorities to resume inclusive negotiations on the electoral reform, eliminating all forms of inequality and discrimination in the electoral process. It emphasises that agreement regarding Mostar elections, enabled the city’s citizens vote in 2020 local elections for the first time since 2008,” the press release said.
The MEPs expressed concern over the increased migratory pressures “that led to grave humanitarian conditions” in Bosnia, calling for “a coordinated, strategic countrywide response, enabling improved border management and appropriate reception capacities across the country.”
“They also want to see improved efforts against cross-border crime through enhanced strategic cooperation with neighbouring countries and the relevant EU agencies. The report calls on the EU to strengthen cooperation on the protection of those in need and engage with Bosnian authorities to develop a functioning and sustainable migration and asylum system, providing further operational, technical, logistical and financial assistance to the country,” it said.
The EU parliamentarians stressed the importance of “European solidarity” and called on the EU to “allocate a sufficient number of COVID-19 vaccines to Western Balkans countries in support of their vaccination efforts.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina is at the heart of Europe and its diversity is at the core of European DNA. Further reforms are needed, building upon modest progress to date. We support an inclusive dialogue involving reforms that will allow BiH to advance on its European path and to obtain candidate status. This is only possible by affirming Bosnia and Herzegovina's pluralistic nature while ensuring a functional democracy where all citizens are equal!“ said EP rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paulo Rangel.