BIH: Answers to follow-up questions handed over to EC

BIH: Answers to follow-up questions handed over to EC

BiH Presidency Chairman, Milorad Dodik, said on Monday in Brussels that he is happy to have a chance to deliver answers to the follow-up questions from the European Commission Questionnaire to the Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.

Dodik pointed out that reaching candidate status and ultimately becoming a member of the EU is a commitment of everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina. During a joint press conference with Hahn, Dodik noted that the delivery of answers to the follow-up questions brought BiH closer to the European integration.

“All political factors in BiH, no matter which entity or nation, are committed to supporting the European integration and come closer to the EU,” said the Chairman of the BiH Presidency.

Dodik noted that a specific decision-making system in BiH slowed certain activities down, which was why the mechanism of coordination was established. This mechanism helped BiH institutions to deliver answers to the questions from the Questionnaire, which proved its significance.

“The coordination mechanism, which we defined in cooperation with the European Commission, provided the best model for harmonisation at various levels of government, in accordance with competences. Answers could be harmonised exclusively through the coordination mechanism and I am pleased we managed to do that”, Dodik said.

He added there were some questions that had not been answered, but that work would resume on those topics too.

“We will work on certain clarifications and believe that the current European Commission will draft an opinion during its term in office that will help us obtain candidate status”, Dodik said.

He expressed the belief that, through joint efforts with the European Commission, BiH would obtain candidate status, which would give it new dynamics and a chance to improve efficiency of the system further.

“That means that we have to start working as early as tomorrow on all the reforms that have been delayed. We have to put the public administration reform on the agenda. The fact that the outgoing Council of Ministers hired 450 more persons is not considered reform. We must get a cheap, efficient European structure of the public administration in BiH because that is the only way to come up with solutions that bring us closer to the EU”, Dodik emphasised.

Dodik, who had earlier met with the European Commission Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn, said that the meeting was very cordial, despite some remarks that the answers should have arrived earlier.

“I am grateful to the people from the European Commission for understanding the specificity of decision-making and structure in BiH and for being glad we are here today regarding this issue”, Dodik said.

The European Commission submitted the follow-up questions to BiH in June last year, with 106 related to political criteria, 43 to social policy and employment, 38 to transport policy, 36 to justice, freedom and security and 33 to economic criteria.

The purpose of the follow-up questions is to clarify what has been provided in the BiH answers to the EC’s Questionnaire, as well as to request missing and updated information.

The paradox is that Milorad Dodik, who often says that Bosnia and Herzegovina is not his homeland and that Serbs are pushed in the joint state with Bosniaks and Croats by force of the Dayton Peace Agreement, today handed over the answers in the name of the state he does not feel as his own. Dodik also has a Serbian citizenship and considers Serbia as the motherland of all Serbs./IBNA