Monday, June 23, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 23,2008) – “Bosnia must focus on realizing the advantages of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU,” the International community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajčák said during the meeting with Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council Hido Biščević in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Lajčák set out his view of the core challenges facing Bosnia following the signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement last week.

The SAA establishes a free-trade area between the EU and Bosnia. Countries that have gone through this process have seen Foreign Direct Investment boosted.

For consumers, the advantages are clear; products from the EU should become cheaper, and there is still time for Bosnia’s businesses to adjust to the new environment. In the areas vital for Bosnia’s economy local producers will be protected with full liberalisation until 2013.

“But the country cannot loose must not loose any more time in carrying out crucial economci reforms such as structural reforms and in realising its economic potential” said Lajčák.

The competitiveness of the Bosnian economy must be raised Lajčák and Biščević agreed. The country must make the most of the EU funding; research and development programmes are available and can help the Bosnian economy – but Bosnia must make itself ready to apply for them.

“The country must drive its reform agenda forward to prevent exports from slowing,” said Lajčák.

By making use of the Regional Cooperation Council’s promotion of integration in South Eastern Europe, Bosnia can invigorate economic relations with the region, the country’s main export market.

Lajčák and Biščević agreed that Bosnia must show a stronger policy of ownership and improved policy coordination.

“There has been progress. The ‘Platform for Action’, agreed among the Bosnian State and Entity Prime Ministers and the Brcko Mayor last October, has lead to the adoption of the Law on Pharmaceuticals and on Fiscal Council but the law on Obligations and a State level Banking Supervision system “remain stalled because of political disagreement,” Lajčák said.

Lajčák also briefed Biščević on the Peace Implementation Council’s policy for the OHR’s transition to the EUSR. The PIC’s five objectives and two conditions overlap with EU integration. “Solutions for State Property, the National Fiscal Council and a Judicial Sector Strategy represent core elements for the EU agenda,” he said.

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