Thursday, April 10, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 10,2008) - Bosnian non-governmental organisations (NGO) have called on lawmakers to adopt two police reform bills to be voted on today to help the country on its path towards EU membership.

"We appeal to you to reach a compromise and pass the police reform bills...or Bosnia's progress to EU integration will remain blocked," 13 NGOs said in a letter sent to the members of the Bosnian State Parliament.

The NGOs said that achieving progress on the way to EU membership was Bosnia's "most important strategic goal" as it would help revive the country's economy and open the way for EU pre-accession funds and visa liberalisation.

The two police reform, to be discussed by the Bosnian Parliament's Lower House, are the last EU-set hurdle for Bosnia to sign a key pact on closer ties with the 27-nation bloc, as expected, later this month.

Bosnia's strongest parliamentary and opposition parties ,the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) ,have already announced that they will vote against the bills saying they were just "cosmetic".

Initially, Brussels demanded a unification of Bosnia's separate police forces.

However, the EU has since accepted a reform which envisages setting up seven new state-level police coordination bodies, without affecting the autonomy of police forces of the country's two highly autonomous entities.

In December last year, Bosnia initialled a Stabilisation and Association Agreement ,essentially a trade and aid pact, seen as the first step towards joining the European Union.

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