Friday, October 10, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2008) - Bosnia must reform its constitution and hold a census before becoming a candidate for European Union membership, the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo today.

"We are in favour of constitution evolution which can be done and must be done in full respect of Dayton Peace Agreement," Rehn told reporters following a meeting with the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic.

"It is important that the country will be able to speak with one voice as a future candidate country of the European Union," he stressed referring to a longstanding gridlock among Bosnia's main political parties over adopting constitutional reforms and strengthening central institutions.

"If I were to see nightmares I will see nightmares of Bosnia blocking the decision making in the EU because of its own political stalemates, because of a dysfunctional state structure," Rehn said.

He slammed local politicians over the current stalemate in reform process which is "hurting the country's progress towards EU" and the use of nationalistic rhetoric in the buildup to last Sunday's local elections.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic protested that EU policy apportioned equal blame to all political leaders in Bosnia.

"Such an attitude towards Bosnia is my own nightmare," President Silajdzic told Rehn at a joint news conference. "This must stop because it does not help."

"Tell us who is failing to do things here -- it is the right time to say it," said President Silajdzic, accusing political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia of being the main obstructionist force.

"This neutral attitude does not help because it is not neutral -- it helps those who are keeping Bosnia on hold. There can be no neutral attitude - we are dealing with a very serious situation here," President Silajdzic said.

Rehn declined to respond to calls to name obstructionists, saying the European Commission policy was not "to participate in domestic politics by blaming different parties".

"What matters for us is that the legal, democratic and economic criteria of EU membership are met ... As regards the consequences, it is up to the people of the country to make political conclusions," Rehn kept avoiding to answer directly to remarks made by President Silajdzic.

Bosnia signed in June a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union, seen as the first step towards EU membership.

Rehn also said that Bosnia has to conduct a census in 2011 as the EU needs clear data in order to formulate policies for Bosnia.

However,Bosnian politicians warn that it would cement the results of the genocide against the Bosnian people committed by the genocidal Serbian fascist savages during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2008) - The Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Mladen Zirojevic stated yesterday at the Crans Montana Forum (CMF) in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that two key goals - reform and integration offer best possibilities for development of sustainable, reliable and efficient energy sector which could support economic growth in the southeastern Europe (SEE).

“However, the setup of stable energy systems in the countries of the region faces many challenges such as setup of adequate policies, reform of energy market and regulation, achievement of energy security, energy efficiency, climate change and environment protection”, stated Zirojevic who chaired the second day of CMF on topic “SEE - Energy Challenges”.

According to Zirojevic, there are huge differences between countries in the region regarding available energy resources, total domestic production, degree of dependency on import and size of energy indicators.

''In this context, countries in the region can and shall gain from this regional approach on energy security and higher integration of the market”, stated Zirojevic.

Zirojevic also mentioned projects which are partly connected with the region - Nabuko, South stream, Adriatic Ionian Initiative, Pan European Pipeline, Inter-connector Italy - Greece, etc.

Personal experience was presented by consultant of the ''British energy'', Jon Coniam, representative of Austrian ''Energy Steiermark AG Group'' Iris Martiniz, and French expertn for energy, Matteo Urbani.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2008) - According to the information that the Bosnian State Presidency got from the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs it is expected that the Proposal of decision on ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union will be delivered to the Presidency no later than Monday; Damir Arnaut, Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic’s advisor said yesterday.

"The Bosnian Presidency will certainly not postpone sending this document to the Bosnian Parliament; Arnaut added.

According to the procedure, the Presidency sends this Document to the Bosnian State Parliament which gives consent for ratification and then sends it to the Presidency which gives the final decision on ratification.

The Bosnian Council of Ministera adopted the Proposal of decision on ratification of the SAA on the last session, and according to this decision the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends the Proposal to the the Bosnian Presidency for further process of ratification.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2008) - Around 150 economy experts from Bosnia, region and the world gathered yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo for a 4th International Conference ICES 2008 dedicated to “Transitional Challenges of EU Integration and Globalization”.

Organizer of this event is the Faculty of Economy of the University of Sarajevo which promotes scientific work and creates referent conference in which scientists can present their works on international level.

The conference shall present 100 scientific works within sessions in which participants shall discuss on economic and social challenges connected with EU integrations and world economy globalization. There will be also a discussion on the world financial crisis and how it will affect Bosnian economy.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic spoke on this topic at the conference opening and underlined that it is necessary to slow down the world economy and regulate it.

President Silajdzic added that this situation was before all caused by uncontrolled development and faster de-regulation. Likewise, this is a consequence of the fact that the world today is connected and that more and more people influence decisions do to enhanced communications.

He warned that Bosnia did not attract enough foreign investments due to its weaknesses and that it is unknown how those who wanted to invest in Bosnia will now act due to the current global financial crisis.

He also mentioned that Bosnia has what the world needs, and this is energy and that we should work on it without delay since everything else is working contrary the country’s interests.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2008) - Nedžad Branković, Prime Minister of the FBIH entity and Vahid Hećo, the FBIH Entity Minister of Energy met with the delegation of the Iranian Markazy province headed by Ali Akbar Shaebani Fard Jahromi and discussed cooperation between two regions.

Zeničko-Dobojski Canton, with which Markazy province has already been cooperating, is the host to Iranian delegation.

Iranian province’s entrepreneurs participated at Zenica Fair Zeps. The meeting was an opportunity to consider cooperation in energy segment, metal industry, oil and gas industry, etc.

Branković used the opportunity to thank the Iranian people and its government for the help they offered to the Bosnian people during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2008) - An out of the ordinary increase of withdrawals caused a temporary cash shortage in several of the biggest Bosnian banks.Faced with this exceptional situation, even the Bosnian Central Bank struggled to cover banks’ increased demands for cash, Central Bank officials said on Friday, stressing that banks’ liquidity is not jeopardized.

“Our banks do not have problems with liquidity, they have enough resources in their reserves,” deputy governor of the Bosnian Central Bank, Tariha Imamovic, told media.

“The problem was of a technical nature, because it is impossible to have so much cash in such a short period of time.”

The problem started on Thursday afternoon, in several branches of Unicredit and Raiffeisen Bank in Sarajevo, where worried customers stood in long lines to withdraw their deposits. It is still unknown whether this situation has spread to other banks in other areas in the country.

The situation appeared to be calmer today, after the Bosnian Central Bank provided commercial banks with as much cash as was available and has ordered additional resources from its deposits kept abroad, which – if needed – will be available within the next couple of days, Imamovic stressed.

The brief cash crisis on Thursday, indicated the level of nervousness among the Bosnian citizens triggered by the deteriorating global economic crisis and the fact that most of Bosnia’s commercial banks are owned and directly linked with other European big banks.

Bosnian citizens have additional reasons for weariness since many of them lost most of their savings when the banking system of former Yugoslavia collapsed in the early 1990’s.

“There is no reason for panic,” Imamovic stressed.

Over the past few weeks, local and international financial and banking experts have repeatedly stressed that Bosnia’s financial and banking systems are safe from the global financial turmoil thanks to the strong reserves of Bosnia’s Central Bank, the modernised regulatory system of the country’s banking sector, state-guaranteed small deposits, the fixed exchange rate between Bosnian Mark and Euro, as well as a conservative fiscal system controlled by the country’s currency board.