Thursday, November 6, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - Concerned over the seemingly perpetual political crisis, the European Union has launched a flurry of activities aimed at bringing troubled Bosnia back onto the European path.

The EU has presented Bosnian leaders with its progress report and sent a separate letter expressing “extreme concern” with the developments in the country. Senior EU officials have also prepared a draft new strategy for Bosnia.

“What we have been witnessing in the last few months in Bosnia is not compatible with the EU values,” the head of the EU mission to Bosnia, Dimitris Kourkoulas told reporters yesterday, after he presented the EU progress report to the Bosnian government.

“All these actions, this situation, risk unfortunately not only to delay but even to jeopardise your EU perspective,” he said.

The progress report has found little or no progress achieved in the country since the June 16 signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, which was hailed as the first concrete step on Bosnia’s path to EU.

So far Bosnia's officials offered little public comment on the report. Bosnia’s Prime Minister, Nikola Spiric said he will first “read the report in detail.”

In addition to the report, the EU has sent a letter to Bosnia's leaders, demanding them to unblock key political and economic reforms, thus showing that they are interested and ready for EU membership, media reported on November 6.

“We are extremely concerned over the political climate which is being created by your officials at all levels: boosting fears and divisions instead of associations is contrary to your European project,” said a letter sent from the French presidency of the EU, on behalf of Olli Rehn, the bloc’s enlargement commissioner, and Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief.

In addition to the letter, Rehn and Solana have also prepared a new EU strategy for Bosnia, which aims to end two years of political impasse and bring the country back to the EU path. EU foreign ministers will consider and most likely endorse the strategy on November 11.

“A lack of political census on key reforms, inflammatory rhetoric and clashing visions of the state, have once again slowed down reforms,” says the seven-point report, which argues that the “status quo is unviable and likely to remain so until and unless the international community is prepared to change the parameters of its presence and approach.”

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