STRASBOURG, France (October 23,2008) - The European Parliament is discussing a resolution urging Bosnia’s leaders to move on with key reforms amid fears of heightened tensions in the country.
According to the European Parliament schedule, the resolution is expected to be voted on today, after the debate which took place yesterday.
“Divisions along ethnic lines are growing, the Office of the High Representative is not using its powers and nobody fears or respects it. Politicians are doing nothing and the situation could not be worse,” said the European Parliament deputy from Germany, Doris Pack, who proposed the resolution.
Speaking at the session in Strasbourg, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said Bosnia has made “a significant step forward” by signing a key pre-membership deal called the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on June 16.
“The EU could initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement last December and sign it in June because the country's political leaders pulled together and reached consensus on the main conditions, particularly police reform. This proves that progress can be achieved and crises overcome, when the political will exists,” Rehn said in his speech.
“However, this consensus has since collapsed and reforms halted,” Rehn said.
“Nationalist rhetoric ahead of the October local elections was a factor in this deterioration. Yet, the country's political problems run much deeper.”
“The lack of a common vision among the country's leaders about its future and the absence of consensus on EU reforms harm its European prospects. There is open disagreement on most political questions, while no sense of urgency or responsibility to overcome this stalemate.”
Rehn welcomed and supported the proposed resolution of the European Parliament, which requires Bosnia's leaders to move on with key reforms. This would enable the transition of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) into the Office of the EU Special Representative (EUSR) which will be discussed in mid-November by the international powers.
Rehn added that also in November, the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission will publish its Progress Report for Bosnia.