Tuesday, April 15, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 15,2008) – The upper house of the Bosnian State Parliament will have the final say on crucial police reforms tomorrow,April 16.The session of the Bosnian Parliament’s House of Peoples was expected to take place on April 14 but was postponed to allow deputy from the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, Sulejman Tihic, to undergo urgent medical treatment.

After months of tough political negotiations and several delays in the lower house of the Bosnian Parliament, the House of Representatives approved the police reform legislation on April 10. The two laws now have to be ratified by the House of Peoples. This is the last remaining condition for Bosnia to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, considered the first step towards the EU membership,

The two laws establish a number of coordinating and supervising bodies in line with EU requirements. The legislation does not insist on a greater centralisation of Bosnia's state, entity and local police forces, but includes a compromise amendment stipulating that further reforms will be made pending eventual future constitutional changes.

The reform laws were adopted by a majority gathered around two key parties the SBIH and the SNSD. The HDZ and HDZ 1990 also supported the legislation.

The SDA party and opposition Social Democratic Party, SDP remained resolutely opposed to the legislation. The SDA and SDP demanded larger centralisation of police forces.

The complicated voting system in Bosnia’s House of Peoples could enable the SDA and SDP to outvote the legislation. They could also block the vote altogether if they fail to appear at the session, meaning there would not be enough seated representatives required for normal functioning of the upper house of the Bosnian Parliament.

Over the weekend, some Bosnian media speculated that the SDA could use this strategy to continue blocking the legislation.

The President of the Party of Democratic Action and the Speaker of the Bosnian State Parliament’s House of Peoples Sulejman Tihic stated last week that the police reform laws adopted by the House of Representatives on Thursday are a matter of shame for Bosnia and for the European Union and that the act of adopting the bills is legalization of war solutions.

”These laws are a matter of shame for Bosnia and for the EU because they are legalization of war solutions, legalization of Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic’s police which committed genocide”, Tihic told the press.

”That is just another historical mistake made by the International Community and domestic politicians," Tihic said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 15,2008) – According to Osman Topcagic, the head of the Bosnian Direction for European Integrations , in the process of implementing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) that should be signed soon between Bosnia and the EU, Bosnia will need to adjust her Constitution to be able to get the candidate status.

There are nine key priorities in the European partnership that Bosnia needs to implement in the following period, Topcagic pointed out. Some of these are constitutional reform, solving open issues with neighbours, continuing with the police reform, the public administration reform and a unified economic environment.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 15,2008) – This year, first generation of students in Bosnia attending the universities according to Bologna Process will graduate. Neither students nor their professors are satisfied with the implementation of this process.

Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia, Douglas Davidson, stated for Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz that most of the universities he visited in Bosnia stated that they have already implemented Bologna Process.

"But, in practice, little has changed, which is the reasons for dissatisfaction of students. There are no visible concrete improvements", said Davidson.

He stresses that the biggest cause of dissatisfaction with Bologna Process is non-existence of corresponding institutions.

"Bodies in charge of certain areas, such is agency for quality and exchange of information, which would enable domestic diplomas to be recognised elsewhere, giving an opportunity to young people to study where they want, have not been established. The most important issue is to establish those agencies as soon as possible",Davidson said.

"The question we should pose is whether Bosnia can afford such great number of universities. Maybe, what is needed is to increase salaries to professors in higher education institutions, so that they do not have to lecture, as it is case today, on five universities in order to survive," concluded Davidson.

The purpose of the Bologna process (or Bologna accords) is to create the European higher education area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe.

It is named after the place it was proposed, the University of Bologna, with the signing in 1999 of the Bologna declaration by Ministers of Education from 29 European countries in the Italian city of Bologna.


SOFIA, Bulgaria (April 15,2008) – The 7th conference of parliamentary speakers from the member states of the Sout East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) opened in the Bulgarian capital Sofia yesterday with the theme "enhancing the role of parliaments in the Interparliamentary Regional Cooperation of the countries of the region.

On behalf of the Bosnian State Parliament, Milorad Zivkovic attended the conference as the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives Speaker.

The Bulgarian Primer Minister Sergei Stanishev said yesterday that regional cooperation was a critical prerequisite for southeast European nations to integrate with NATO and the European Union (EU).

Speaking at the conference, Stanishev highlighted the importance of developing good neighborly relations and finding mutually acceptable solutions to regional disputes.

The Greek parliament speaker Dimitris Sioufas stressed the need for specific policies, actions and initiatives to render the region of southeastern Europe an "islet of stability, growth and creativity".

"The region of SE Europe can evolve from the weak link of Europe throughout the 20th century into an area of political stability, peace and cooperation among the peoples, today, a magnet for investments, and a region with high economic growth rates that ensure prospects of prosperity for our peoples," Sioufas said, adding that the "key" to achieving this goal was the region's European prospect,he said.

Reiterating Greece's support for EU accession for all the countries of the region, Sioufas noted that the benefits would be mutual: the SE Europe countries need the European Union and accession to its institutions, on the one hand, but on the other EU integration rlied on the incorporation of the entire neighborhood into a new European status quo, into the large European family.

SEECP parliamentary speakers issued a declaration yesterday calling for better parliamentary cooperation in an effort to solve regional disputes.

They also signed a memorandum of understanding titled "Inter-parliamentary Cooperation in Southeast Europe," pushing for the exchange of information between national legislatures, especially of countries seeking EU membership.

The South East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) was launched on Bulgaria's initiative in 1996. At the Bulgaria-chaired meeting in Sofia, the SEE countries laid the foundations for regional co-operation for the purposes of creating an atmosphere of trust, good neighbourly relations and stability.

Members include Albania,Bosnia,Bulgaria,Greece,Macedonia,Romania,
Serbia,Turkey,Croatia,Moldova and Montenegro.

The basic goals of regional co-operation within SEECP include the strengthening of security and political situation, intensification of economic relations and co-operation in human resources, democracy, justice, and battle against illegal activities. It is the intention of the SEECP to enable its members to approach the European and Euro-Atlantic structures through the strengthening of good neighbourly relations and transformation of the region into an area of peace and stability.