Thursday, September 27, 2007


BRUSSELS, Belgium (27.September,2007) - The EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana called on Bosnia's political leaders to reach an agreement on police reform and other reforms without further delay.

In an interview published in the Wednesday issue of Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz, Solana warned Bosnia's political leaders of the upshots of the prolonged blockade of reforms in that country, and of postponing the necessary changes.

“The political situation in Bosnia has been deteriorating and the EU is very concerned with it,” Solana said, adding that Bosnia could be doomed to self-isolation should it fail to reach an agreement over police reforms.

He stressed that the gap between political representatives in Bosnia was growing wider, and that it would be a bad sign if Bosnia remained behind neighbouring countries in EU integration processes this autumn.

DNEVNI AVAZ: The situation in Bosnia is worsening. It seems that the country is heading inevitably towards dissolution. Do you share this view?

SOLANA: Yes, it is true that the political situation is worsening, and we are again concerned about the situation in Bosnia at the highest level. The views of the main leaders continue to diverge and it seems increasingly difficult to reach agreement on the key issues. It would be a very bad signal if Bosnia falls behind Serbia this autumn in the EU integration process. But I do not share the view that Bosnia is heading for dissolution. Bosnia is an internationally recognised sovereign state whose territorial integrity is guaranteed under international law. The EU has made a firm commitment to the country. So instead of questioning the existence of the state or its entities, the country’s political leaders should focus on the pressing issues that the country faces, such as meeting the requirements for signing a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union.

DNEVNI AVAZ: Croat and Serb political leaders have spoken out in favour of the creation of a third entity in Bosnia. What is you view on this issue? It seems that the EU does not have a clearly defined position in this respect?

SOLANA: Each EU member state has its own constitutional structure, and there is no single model that can be applied to every country. I understand that there are various proposals being put forward for the future constitutional organisation of Bosnia, both at the political and expert level. For the EU the goal of constitutional change in Bosnia is to make the country more functional and efficient, and its administration less expensive. In the end, Bosnia needs to find a model that reflects its nature, but that at the same time prepares the country for the process of European integration.

DNEVNI AVAZ: Some Bosniak political circles are of the opinion that the international community is ready to compensate Serbia for the loss of Kosovo by recognizing the independence of (the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia) "the RS". Is this true?

SOLANA: I do not expect that the outcome of talks on the future status of Kosovo will have any effect on Bosnia. Any statements drawing parallels between decisions on Kosovo’s future status and the position of "the RS" in Bosnia are irresponsible and serve only to raise political tensions.

DNEVNI AVAZ: Some Bosniak politicians are also convinced that the EU does not sincerely want Bosnia, despite proclamations to the contrary by Brussels and European leaders. They say that new obstacles are being invented all the time so as to prevent Bosnia (like Turkey) from becoming members of the EU. What is your response to such claims?

SOLANA: I think such speculations are absurd. At every EU summit since 1999, the EU has sent a clear signal to Bosnia that it will support the country’s efforts to integrate with the EU and that the doors of the EU are open for Bosnia. Bosnia is a European country. I would also like to stress that Bosnia, as a multiethnic country is wholeheartedly welcome in a multiethnic and diverse European Union. In addition there is an extraordinarily high level of public support in Bosnia for its EU future, much more so than in some candidate countries. Bosnia, like all countries aspiring to join the European Union must meet the criteria and honour their commitments. As a clear example, in October 2005 Bosnia's Parliaments committed to a police reform process in line with the three EU principles. Unfortunately, this commitment remains to be fulfilled. Each country’s progress is assessed individually, and the speed at which Bosnia, or any other country, moves closer to the European Union depends entirely on its own merits.

DNEVNI AVAZ: On the other hand, some analysts believe that European Union – and the International Community in general – will focus their energy on addressing the situation in Bosnia as soon as the Kosovo issue is resolved. Is this prediction correct?

SOLANA: Discussions on the future status of Kosovo might be in the media spotlight at the moment, but that does not mean that the EU is not following the situation in Bosnia very closely. We are very concerned about the stalemate in the reform process. The High Representative and EU Special Representative, Miroslav Lajčák, is working hard to get the reform process back on track and ensure that Bosnia can still conclude an SAA with the EU as soon as possible.

DNEVNI AVAZ: How do you look upon the rejection by Bosniak and Serb political leaders of Lajčák’s police reform concept, which he presented to them recently?

SOLANA: The important thing is that the process is now continuing. I strongly encourage all political parties to continue to work constructively with my Special Representative Mr. Lajčák on the basis of his proposal and reach a comprehensive agreement without delay. The proposal that is now on the table is a fair and balanced compromise solution that enjoys the full backing of the European Union. It meets the three EU principles for police reform and builds on the work of the last three years on this issue. I sometimes have the feeling that political leaders in Bosnia do not see the wood for the trees. They are gambling the European future of the country over a technical reform for the sake of symbols and short term interests.

DNEVNI AVAZ: What is your message to Bosniak and Serb politicians in this regard?

SOLANA: I call on all political leaders in Bosnia, whether at the state or entity level, to think of the country as a whole and of all its citizens when negotiating key reforms. Only compromise in the interests of all can move the reform process forward and bring Bosnia closer to the European Union. A large majority of Bosnian citizens of all backgrounds believes that the key priority of their elected representatives should be European integration, and it is irresponsible from political leaders to deny them the European future to which they aspire.

DNEVNI AVAZ: There are increasing indications that the failure of police reform, and the overall blockade of the reform process, will not pass without consequences. What concrete consequences can we expect? Will Bosnia be isolated and put in quarantine?

SOLANA: The inevitable consequence of such a scenario is self-isolation as the rest of the region continues towards integration with the EU. The European Union will not change its requirements. Whether the country makes progress depends therefore solely on Bosnia and its political leaders.

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