Friday, December 5, 2008


LONDON, UK (December 5,2008) - The United Kingdom has reaffirmed its support to Bosnia'S aspirations to the membership of the European Union following the visit of Bosnian State Presidency member Dr.Haris Silajdzic to the UK.

Dr.Silajdzic met UK Minister for Europe, Caroline Flint in London yesterday to discuss developments in the political situation in Bosnia.

During the meeting Ms.Flint and Dr. Silajdzic discussed progress on key reforms, and the challenges Bosnia continues to face, according to a FCO announcement.

But Flint also expressed concerns at the lack of progress in key areas and urged politicians on all sides to uphold the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement and to engage constructively with each other in order to achieve further reform progress.

Bosnia signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU on June 16 this year which is one of the first steps in the process towards membership of the European Union.

This year’s Commission Progress Report released last month which examines Bosnia’s work on key pre‑accession reforms, states that Bosnia “has made limited progress in addressing political criteria in line with the EU Partnership.”

These political criteria include democracy and rule of law, public administration reform, reform of the judicial system and protection of human rights and minorities.

Dr Silajdzic endorsed the initiative of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of UK and Czech Republic, related to the engagement of the EU member countries in Bosnia. During his meeting with UK Minister for EU Caroline Flint, Dr Silajdzic stressed that it was particularly important to reinforce engagement of international community in the period ahead, when discussions about the new Bosnian Constitution will be intensified.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (December 5,2008) - A delegate in the Bosnian State Parliament's House of People Slobodan Saraba requested from the Bosnian government yesterday to take urgent measures to stop Croatian power company HEP from "stealing further the electric power from the Trebisnjica hydro power station".

Saraba then concerted that the debt for "unlawfully taken" power amounts to 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours, and accused Croatia for incurring damages in excess of 200 million Bosnian Marks. He wants immediate action from the government to prevent this threat to Bosnia's power system.

In Jume 2008,Ante Colak, a member of the FBIH entity parliament, has also accused the Croatian power company HEP on more than one occasion of threatening the energy sovereignty of Bosnia, because of the fact that HEP is refusing to pay a concession fee of 20 million Bosnian Marks for using the water from the Busko Blato artificial lake (for its hydro power stations on the Cetina).

Colak claims that HEP earns around 55 million Bosnian Marks a year on the water from that reservoir, but pays only 1.6 million Bosnian Marks. He accuses the HDZBiH Party of conspiring with HEP, and refusing to raise the issue of an adequate fee.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (December 5,2008) - Foreign investors complained yesterday of long procedures and excess paperwork when registering a business or taking out building and work permits in Bosnia. They also named taxes as one of the areas that need to be reformed to improve Bosnia's investment environment, representatives of the Foreign Investors Council (FIC) said.

The White Book 2008, presented yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo by the FIC, lists 25 obstacles and proposals to the government for improving conditions to foreign investors in Bosnia.

The FIC members greated changes made at local level, they warned of the urgent reform in three crucial areas mentioned. They are not satisfied with implementation of their proposals from last year’s issue of the White Book.


HELSINKI, Finland (December 5,2008) - The Bosnian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Alkalaj signed in Helsinki yesterday Bosnia’s membership in the Adriatic Charter Group, an association formed to aid the efforts of its members to join the NATO.

Foreign ministers of Macedonia, Croatia and Albania were also present at the ceremony, together with the US assistant secretary of state for Europe.

Minister Alkalaj thanked the representatives of the Adriatic Charter member countries for the partnership, and underlined its importance for Bosnia.

Alkalaj said Bosnia’s membership is poof that Bosnia’s progress has been recognized. Gratitude was also expressed to the United States for the guidelines in meeting conditions for a full membership in the NATO.

The Adriatic Charter is an association formed by Albania, Croatia and Macedonia for the purpose of aiding their efforts to join NATO.The Charter was signed in 2003 under the aegis of the United States.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (December 5,2008) - The Bosnian State Parliament's House of People adopted yesterday amendments to the VAT Act that exempt the EU’s pre-accession funds (IPA) from the value added tax (VAT).

Cancelling VAT charges on these funds was a condition set by the European Commission (EC) for the implementation of 50 million Euros worth of projects from 2007.

The total sum of IPA funds for Bosnia is 440 million Euros by 2011. The EC Delegation to Bosnia welcomed the move.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (December 5,2008) - The latest study from the World Bank has confirmed the ongoing trend of growth in the Bosnian private sector, but it has also identified serious structural and operating limitations including problems with financial solvency, lacking availability of capital and an inadequate solution of the working status of one part of employees.

In the study assessing the investment climate in Bosnia, the problem of ineffective administration that creates business bottlenecks, and the lack of fast market mechanisms that would make troubled companies undergo restructuring or shut down are identified. The study was introduced today at a roundtable in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.