BiH chairmanship in Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

BiH chairmanship in Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

Sarajevo, May 19, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

For the next six months BiH representatives will take the chairmanship in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which start today.

BiH Minister of foreign affairs, Igor Crnadak, changed his colleague from Belgium, Didier Reynders, on this post. Ceremony was held in Brussel on the meeting of Committee, where Crnadak held a speech about priorities in the next six month. During the day, Crnadak had a meeting with Reinders, in his capacity as outgoing chairman, Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic, as chairman of the OSCE, and the secretary general of the Council of Europe and OSCE, Torbjorn Jagland and Lamberto Zannier.

As it was reported from the ministry of BiH foreign affairs, Crnadak has set as priorities the Istanbul convention on the prevention of violence against women and intrafamily violence. The second priority is the cultural segment of the Council of Europe and intercultural dialogue, and the third priority is the Neighbourhood Policy.

Senad Sepic, Chairman of the permanent BiH delegation in the council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, told the media that for BiH this is a chance to show that it is not just a country of conflicts and dysfunction.

“We have a chance to prove that we are a country which can offer good conditions for business. That is one of the priorities of the new governments”, Sepic told the media.

Chairman of BiH Presidency, Mladen Ivanic, has a slightly different opinion. He said that the next six months of chairmanship will not help the country. He believes that it is more important for BiH politicians to implement reforms.

“The chairmanship can help improve the image of BiH in the world. Others will see us more seriously than they do now. If we perform well at this job, the ministry of Foreign affairs must know how to use that in future”, Ivanic said.

The BiH chairmanship was welcomed by EU Delegation and EU Special Representative Office. Charge d’affaires, Renzo Daviddi, in a written statement, underlined that BiH’s chairmanship over the next six months represents a huge responsibility towards the other 46 Member States and a major opportunity for the country.

“The Council of Europe has a vital role in promoting co-operation between European countries in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation. Bosnia and Herzegovina has proposed an ambitious list of well-chosen priorities for its first chairmanship, we wish its representatives well and we are looking forward to seeing implementation of the priorities”, Daviddi said.

He also emphasized that this is a real opportunity for the country to capitalise on its strengths and project its values in an international forum.

It is interesting that BiH, just few years ago, had almost been expelled from the Council of Europe because it didn’t implement the decision of the European court for human rights in Strasbourg in the “Sejdic – Finci” case. The decision orders BiH to change the laws in order for all citizens to have the right to be elected in BiH Presidency and other institutions.