Reform of the BiH Electoral Law and candidate status are pre-requisites for the BiH accession path to the EU

Strasbourg, 23 October 2017 – Members of the Committee on External Affairs (AFET) have held today in Strasbourg exchange of views with the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr. Dragan Čović.

In addition to numerous MEPs, who were asking questions, MEPs Željana Zovko, Ivana Maletić and Dubravka Šuica took part in the exchange of views and expressed their support to efforts put by the heads of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the country’s accession path to the EU.

MEP Zovko asked Mr. Čović to explain in more details the meaning of the principle of constitutivity, which is very often misunderstood, particularly in BiH context and what the principle meant for the BiH Croats.

“What is going to happen with BiH, if the issue of the Electoral Law is left unresolved?” – was Zovko’s next question. She further pointed out to the issue of the City of Mostar, which is held hostage to the current situation, the city which has had no elections since 2008. Zovko drew a parallel between the problems of Mostar and the problems at the state level, resp., the issues of constitutivity and representation.

MEP Maletić pointed out to importance of more intensive investments in BiH from the EU countries, especially considering high investments by Turkey, Russia, China and other non-EU countries, whereas not a single project was financed from the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the so-called Juncker Fund, the European Investment Bank is still not sufficiently represented and some IPA components are still not accessible. She further stressed that the BiH accession path to the EU must be supported by opening of new sources of financing and by stronger investments. The Chairman of the BiH Presidency Čović agreed that the EU was not sufficiently represented in BiH and listed many entrepreneurship projects seeking for European investors. Besides, infrastructural investments in transport, energy, environment and science would significantly help to create new jobs and keep the people in BiH.

“All citizens of BiH deserve to live in a country which cherishes the rule of law as its greatest asset and in which decisions taken by the independent judiciary are respected. Changes to the Electoral Law are of the uttermost importance for all three nations, but I would like to especially point out to the position of the BiH Croats and I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to the international community and to all European institutions to support and encourage the BiH political leadership on the country’s accession path to the EU and its getting the candidate status as soon as possible. Lack of functional institutions would expose BiH to risk of further stagnation, what could entail catastrophic consequences in South-Eastern Europe and in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself.“ – said the Vice-chair of AFET Dubravka Šuica.

The Chairman of the BiH Presidency Čović expressed optimism and decisiveness in resolving the problems faced by BiH. He stressed the importance of the candidate status as the key pre-condition for continuation of BiH accession path to the EU.

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