Monday, March 31, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 31,2008) - Political parties represented in the Bosnian Parliament should first focus on the requirements for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU which will have tangible benefits for all Bosnian citizens rather than on their own privileges and benefits, the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) said.

"It is clear that little or no discussion is taking place between parliamentary parties to prepare the successful passage of the police reform legislation without which Bosnia cannot sign a Stabilisation and Association Agreement," OHR said.

"The draft salaries and pension legislation is now being resubmitted into parliamentary procedure for the fourth time.

The proposed Law would enable members of the Bosnian Parliament to receive more generous pension and other welfare benefits than the rest of the population, at the time when hundreds of thousands of people in Bosnia are unemployed or live on or below the poverty line.

Parts of the draft legislation are so vague as to obscure from public scrutiny what the real costs of these measures would be.Nowhere in the draft Law is there any requirement that links performance to these increased emoluments.

Politicians and parliamentarians would be ill-advised to move ahead with the Draft Law on Rights and Obligations of the Delegates of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly without showing that they have earned these benefits," OHR said.

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