By Medina Malagić – Sarajevo
The Council for Foreign Relations of the European Council, which held its annual meeting yesterday in Luxembourg, came to a series of conclusions about B&H. One of these conclusions stated that the Council is extremely concerned over the situation in B&H in light of the continuing lack of agreement by B&H politicians to reach a consensus on the implementation of the Sejdic-Finci ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
In October 2013, leaders of the ruling B&H political parties met with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule in Brussels, where once again they failed to reach an agreement over the Sejdic-Finci ruling.
In its report, the Council maintained that it would continue to support the EU on issues regarding B&H, but that it is B&H leaders who bear the primary responsibility for initiating the change that is necessary if B&H wants to unblock its EU path and eventually join the European community. By stating this, the Council maintains the position of the EU, which continues to reiterate that it will not act as an arbiter in the affairs of B&H. Instead, pressure continues to be exerted on B&H leaders to do what is for the benefit of all the citizens of their country.
Today, discussions with EU officials in B&H continue, as Head of the EU Delegation to B&H and EU Representative to B&H Ambassador Peter Sorensen issued a B&H 2013 progress report conducted by the European Commission to B&H state institutions and to the FB&H institutions.
This morning, Ambassador Sorensen presented the progress report to Chairman of the B&H Council of Ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda, and Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to B&H Dr. Renzo Daviddi presented the progress report to the FB&H Prime Minister Nermin Nikšić and to the FB&H President Živko Budimir. Later in the afternoon, he will present the conclusions to the report to the Joint Collegium of the B&H Parliamentary Assembly.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule had presented the progress report on B&H in Brussels on 16 October, with less than satisfactory words on B&H’s stalled EU path. He said that B&H failed to utilize its potential all these years, but that the time has finally come for the country to enter a new stage of reconciliation and past the Dayton agreement.
As expected, the lack of political will and action by B&H leaders, seen as the main obstacle to B&H’s progress, was cited as falling below expectations. This prevents B&H from meeting the necessary EU requirements that would enable the country to come one step closer to joining the EU. Since B&H political leaders do not have a common vision for the future of the country, progress is stalled.
The role of the Council for Foreign Relations of the European Council is to address issues related to foreign policy, defense, trade, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. Catherine Ashton is head of the Council for Foreign Relations, as well as Vice-President of the European Commission.