Sarajevo, June 29, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
U.S. Ambassador to BiH Maureen Cormack and the Head of EU Delegation and EU Special Representative to BiH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark met on Wednesday to review outstanding issues which are of great concern for the future of BiH at this critical juncture.
After the meeting they issued a joint statement to emphasize that the events over the next few days are likely to have a profound effect on the prosperity and security of the country through the next decade.
“Specifically, the window to secure a positive response in the near term to the application of BiH for membership in the EU is closing fast. BiH will need to accept the adaptation to the SAA that has recently been negotiated between BiH and EU. Without this adaptation—which will, of itself, be of benefit to the people of BiH—there is no guarantee that BiH can move to the next stage of EU accession. And without this important step toward Europe, there will be further delays in the crucial investment that will underpin BiH’s future prosperity. The BiH authorities also need to speedily approve the final version of the Coordination Mechanism”, they emphasize in their statement.
As the joint statement say, the international community has fully supported the development and early implementation of the Reform Agenda and this will already bear fruit if an Extended Fund Facility from the IMF could be approved by mid-July.
“But this is just the first step. The SAA adaptation and acceptance of a membership application will be essential to creating the conditions that will keep the IMF program on track over the next years and this is what is important. In total, the international community plans to secure over €2 billion in support for BiH over the next 3-4 years – some €850 million in direct budget support and €1.3 billion in infrastructure investment – but all of this is predicated upon BiH being on a stable political path toward Europe”, concluded Cormack and Wigemark.
There is simply no time left, they say at the end of statement, if the benefits of the Reform Agenda and support from the international community are going to bear fruit. The future of BiH depends upon it.
The adapted SAA was refused by highest officials of Republic of Srpska, enterpreneurs and farmers on the meeting with RS president Milorad Dodik on Sunday in Banja Luka. This was the reason that BiH Presidency member from RS, Mladen Ivanic, refuse to vote in favour of SAA on the session and this issue was not discussed at the BiH Presidency session on Monday.