European Parliament resolution of 30 April 2015 on the 2014 Progress Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina

P8_TA-PROV(2015)0182

2014 Progress Report on
Bosnia and Herzegovina

PE555.117

European
Parliament resolution of 30 April 2015 on the 2014 Progress Report on Bosnia
and Herzegovina (2014/2952(RSP))

 

The
European Parliament
,

–    having
regard to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the
European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and Bosnia and
Herzegovina (BiH), of the other part, signed on 16 June 2008 and ratified by
all EU Member States and Bosnia and Herzegovina,

–    having
regard to the European Council conclusions of 19-20 June 2003 on the Western
Balkans and to the annex thereto entitled ‘The Thessaloniki Agenda for the
Western Balkans: moving towards European integration’,

–    having
regard to the Council conclusions of 20 October, 17-18 November, 15 and 16
December 2014,

–    having
regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Enlargement Strategy and Main
Challenges 2014-2015’ of 8 October 2014 (COM(2014)0700), accompanied by
Commission Staff Working Document SWD(2014)0305 entitled ‘Bosnia and
Herzegovina 2014 Progress Report’, and to the Indicative Strategy Paper on
Bosnia and Herzegovina (2014-2017), adopted on 15 December 2014,

–    having
regard to the Written Commitment to EU Integration adopted by the BiH
Presidency on 29 January 2015 and endorsed by the BiH Parliamentary Assembly on
23 February 2015,

–    having
regard to the Council decision of 19 January 2015 appointing Lars-Gunnar
Wigemark as EU Special Representative and Head of Delegation for Bosnia and
Herzegovina,

–    having
regard to its previous resolutions on the country,

–    having
regard to the work of Cristian Dan Preda as the standing rapporteur on Bosnia
and Herzegovina of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,

–    having
regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the EU has repeatedly stated its unequivocal commitment to
BiH’s European perspective and to its territorial integrity, sovereignty and
unity;

B.  whereas the EU has offered a new opportunity to BiH based on a
coordinated approach designed to help the country to resume its reform process,
to improve its social and economic situation and to draw closer to the European
Union; whereas an equally unequivocal commitment and engagement is now
requested from the country’s political elites; whereas EU accession is an
inclusive process that belongs to the whole country and all its citizens, and
requires a national consensus on the reform agenda;

C.  whereas the overly complex and inefficient institutional
architecture, the lack of sufficient cooperation and coordination between the
BiH political leaders and all levels of government, the absence of common
vision and political will, and ethnocentric attitudes have seriously hampered
progress in the country; whereas disagreements along political and ethnic lines
have had a major negative effect on the work of the assemblies at state level;

D.  whereas the prolonged political stalemate represents a serious
impediment for the country’s stabilisation and development and is depriving
citizens of a secure and prosperous future; whereas political inertia,
unemployment, the very high levels of corruption and dissatisfaction with
political elites have led to civil unrest, which spread from Tuzla throughout
the country in February 2014;

E.   whereas the EU has put the rule of law at the core of its
enlargement process; whereas strong political support is the key to achieving
progress in these areas;

F.   whereas corruption is widespread, public administration is
fragmented, the many different legal systems pose a challenge, cooperation
mechanisms with civil society remain weak, the media landscape is polarised,
and equal rights are not ensured for all constituent peoples and citizens;

G.  whereas over 50 % of BiH state revenues are spent on
maintaining the administration at numerous levels; whereas, according to World
Bank indicators, BiH is the lowest-rated European country for ease of doing
business and one of the lowest-ranked on the Corruption Perception Index;
whereas BiH has the highest rate of youth unemployment in Europe (59 % of the
active population aged 15-24);

1.   Welcomes the fact that the Council has responded to its call for a
rethinking of the EU’s approach towards BiH; urges the new BiH leaders to
commit fully to carrying out the necessary institutional, economic and social
reforms in order to improve the lives of BiH citizens and enable progress on
the path to EU membership; points out that meaningful progress on the
implementation of the agenda for reforms, including the Compact for Growth and
Jobs, will be necessary for a membership application to be considered;
underlines the fact that BiH, like all other (potential) candidate countries,
should be judged on its own merits, and that the speed and quality of the
necessary reforms should determine the timetable for its accession;

2.   Stresses that the Commission should pay particular attention to
the implementation of the Sejdić-Finci ruling when asked by the Council to
prepare an opinion on an EU membership application; invites the Commission to
be ready to facilitate an agreement on its implementation in order to guarantee
equal rights for all citizens and to be instrumental in implementing the
objectives of the EU agenda, including a functional system of good governance,
democratic development and economic prosperity and respect for human rights;

3.   Strongly supports the European integration of BiH and believes
that the EU’s reinforced engagement should focus, inter alia, on socio-economic
issues, the business environment, the institutional framework, the rule of law
and governance, law enforcement policy, an independent judiciary, the fight
against corruption, public administration reform, civil society and youth,
while keeping EU conditionality for accession unchanged; calls on the VP/HR,
the Commission and the Member States to maintain a coordinated, consistent and
coherent EU position and to demonstrate that BiH’s EU integration is a priority
of EU foreign policy; stresses that the EU should seek to bring together all
financial donors in order to support the efficient implementation of the EU´s
renewed approach and the Written Commitment;

4.   Welcomes the Written Commitment to EU Integration, adopted by the
BiH Presidency, signed by the leaders of all political parties and endorsed by
the BiH Parliament on 23 February 2015, on measures to establish
institutional functionality and efficiency, to launch reforms at all governance
levels, to accelerate the process of reconciliation and to strengthen
administrative capacity; acknowledges that the Commitment paved the way for the
agreement in the Council on 16 March 2015 to proceed with the conclusion and
entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA); welcomes
the entry into force of the SAA, scheduled for 1 June 2015, which will allow
BiH and the EU to work together more closely and to deepen their relationship; calls
for the full collaboration of all political leaders in the thorough and
efficient implementation of the Commitment, especially in strengthening the
rule of law and the fight against corruption and organised crime; recalls that
political commitment and genuine ownership of the reform process is key;
invites the new leaders of BiH to agree with the EU on a concrete roadmap for a
broad and inclusive reform agenda to advance the country on its path towards
the EU; calls for transparency in the process of planning and implementing
reforms and urges that civil society be included in the reform process;

5.   Expresses its deep concern regarding the declaration adopted on 25
April 2015 by the congress of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats
(SNSD) in Eastern Sarajevo, calling inter alia for a referendum on the
independence of Republika Srpska in 2018; underlines the fact that under the
Dayton Agreement Republika Srpska has no right to secession; recalls that, with
the adoption of the Written Commitment, all political forces, including the
SNSD, have committed to respecting the ‘sovereignty, territorial integrity and
political independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina’; urges the new political
leaders to refrain from divisive nationalistic and secessionist rhetoric that
polarises society and to seriously engage in reforms that will improve the
lives of BiH citizens, create a democratic, inclusive and functioning state and
move the country closer towards the EU;

6.   Calls on the political leaders to give priority to establishing an
effective EU coordination mechanism, efficiently linking institutions at all
governance levels, in order to ensure alignment with and enforcement of the EU
acquis throughout the country in the interest of the overall prosperity of its
citizens; stresses that without such a mechanism the EU accession process will
remain deadlocked, as the current organisation of the country is too
inefficient and dysfunctional; stresses that the establishment of such a
mechanism would open the way for BiH to benefit fully from the funding
available; stresses the need to take concrete reform steps and provide the
country and its citizens with a clear direction;

7.   Stresses that addressing the socio-economic needs of citizens must
be the priority; considers it also crucial, however, to continue, in parallel,
with political reforms and democratisation of the political system; underlines
the fact that economic prosperity is only possible if it is based on a
democratic and inclusive society and state; stresses also that BiH will not be
a successful candidate for EU membership until appropriate institutional
conditions have been established; notes that constitutional reform aimed at
consolidating, streamlining and strengthening the institutional framework
remains key to transforming BiH into an effective, inclusive and fully
functional state; recalls that the future constitutional reform should also
take into account the principles of federalism, decentralisation, subsidiarity
and legitimate representation to ensure the efficient and smooth integration of
BiH into the EU; urges all political leaders to work on introducing the
necessary changes;

8.   Welcomes the Commission’s initiatives to accelerate the
implementation of projects under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance
(IPA) and strengthen economic governance; regrets that inaction may have
implications for the allocation of EU funds for political and socio-economic
development under IPA-II; urges the competent authorities to agree on
countrywide sector strategies, particularly in the priority fields of
transport, energy, the environment and agriculture, as key requirements to be
able to fully benefit from IPA funding;

9.   Commends the orderly conduct of the October 2014 elections; notes,
however, that for the second time in a row the electoral process took place
without every citizen being able to stand for every office; underlines the
crucial importance of establishing all new parliamentary organs and governments
at all levels as a matter of urgency; urges the new leaders to observe the
principle of universal, equal and direct suffrage, reach out to the people,
engage with civil society and provide responsible and immediate answers to
their legitimate concerns; calls on the competent authorities to investigate
the very serious allegations against the Prime Minister of the Republika Srpska
(RS) of being involved in buying the votes of two MPs not belonging to her
party in order to gain a majority in the RS National Assembly (RSNA);

10. Welcomes the overwhelming national and international solidarity,
including within the EU Floods Recovery Programme, in response to the 2014
natural disasters; welcomes the fact that the EU took immediate and substantial
rescue and relief measures, at the request of BiH, and organised a donors’
conference in July 2014, which was hosted by the Commission and co-organised
with France and Slovenia; stresses that the Commission invited BiH to join the
EU Civil Protection Mechanism; calls for effective and coordinated preventive
measures at all levels to address the consequences of the current disasters and
to prevent such disasters in the future; welcomes the many positive examples of
very close inter-ethnic cooperation and support following the floods as a sign
that reconciliation is possible; believes that regional cooperation and close
relations with neighbouring countries are essential factors in responding to
such disasters in the future;

11. Recalls that a professional, effective and merit-based public
administration forms the backbone of the integration process of BiH and of any
country that aspires to become an EU Member State; is seriously concerned that
the public administration, which is supposed to help BiH advance towards EU
membership and improve living conditions for its citizens, continues to be
fragmented, politicised and dysfunctional; remains preoccupied about its
financial sustainability and the fact that the lack of political will to reform
the administration may impact on the provision of public services; urges all
competent actors to adopt a new public administration reform strategy and
action plan beyond 2014 in order to simplify the complex institutional
structure, rationalise costs and make the state more functional;

12. Urges the authorities to make the fight against corruption an
absolute priority, given that it has not yet resulted in satisfactory
improvements and that corruption affects all sectors, including health and
education, exploiting the most vulnerable people, and causing pessimism to
grow, and more and more citizens to lose faith in their institutions; calls for
effective anti-corruption mechanisms, independent judicial follow-up and
inclusive consultations with all stakeholders, which should guarantee timely
adoption of a renewed strategic framework for 2015-2019; calls, in general, for
the efficient implementation of anti-corruption measures; welcomes the adoption
of a set of anti-corruption laws, including on promoting the protection of
whistleblowers at state level and the creation of prevention bodies at
federation level; condemns attempts to undermine the existing rule of law
principles and is concerned that the new law on conflicts of interest weakens
the legal framework and represents a setback in the prevention of conflicts of
interest in that it increases the risk of political interference and offers no
incentive for officials to comply; calls for the strengthening of parliamentary
bodies for the prevention of conflicts of interests; urges the competent
authorities to improve the track record as regards effective investigation,
prosecution and convictions in high-profile corruption cases, especially in the
framework of public procurement and privatisation;

13. Remains seriously concerned about the inefficiency of the judicial
system, the risk of political interference in court proceedings, the
politicisation of appointment procedures, a fragmented judiciary and
prosecution budgeting process and the risk of conflicts of interest in the
judiciary; urges the new leaders of the country to undertake structural and
institutional reforms addressing inter
alia
the harmonisation of the four different legal systems; invites them to
address the Commission’s recommendations, such as institutional reform of the
state-level judiciary, including on the adoption of a law on the courts of BiH;
urges the incoming Council of Ministers to adopt the already prepared new
Justice Reform Strategy; reiterates its support for the office of the
Ombudsman; notes that a moratorium on capital punishment is still in place
under the Constitution of the RS and urges the authorities of the RS to abolish
the death penalty without further delay;

14. Is concerned that access to free legal aid is very limited and that
the right to the provision thereof is still not entirely legally regulated
throughout BiH, thereby restricting the right to justice for the most
vulnerable; urges the competent authorities to adopt a law on free legal aid at
state level and clearly define the role of civil society in the provision
thereof;

15. Welcomes the broadening of the EU-BiH Structured Dialogue on Justice
to include additional rule-of-law matters, especially corruption and
discrimination, and the fact that it is delivering some positive results in
regional cooperation, the processing of war crimes, and the professionalism and
efficiency of the judiciary; welcomes the inclusion of civil society in the
process; notes that conditions in several courts in the Entities have improved,
including on witness protection;

16. Is concerned that certain statements have questioned the legitimacy
of ICTY convictions, thereby undermining the court in The Hague; calls for
steps to be taken to strengthen the protection of victims and improve the work
of the BiH Prosecutor’s Office by reviewing the processing of Category II war
crimes cases; welcomes the progress made in reducing the backlog in war crimes
cases; notes that the prosecution of war crimes cases involving sexual violence
has improved and requests that this process continue in the future; stresses
the need for the competent authorities to adopt the long‑pending state-level
programme to improve the status of victims of such war crimes, including their
right to compensation, to ensure their effective access to justice and to bring
the provisions of BiH criminal law regarding sexual violence into line with
international standards;

17. Is concerned at the persistently high number of missing persons and
the slow progress in this respect; calls on the authorities to embark on
intensive cooperation between the two entities, and to step up efforts in the
search for missing persons;

18. Remembers all victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide and expresses
its deep condolences to the families and survivors; expresses its support for
organisations such as the Association of Mothers of Srebrenica and
Žepa Enclaves in view of their pivotal role in raising awareness and
building a broader basis for reconciliation among all citizens of the country; calls
on all citizens of BiH to use the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre
as an opportunity to enhance reconciliation and cooperation, which are key
prerequisites for all the countries of the region to move forward on their
European path;

19. Notes with concern that there are still 84 500 internally displaced
persons (IDPs) and 6 853 refugees in BiH; is concerned at the violation of
the rights of returnees in the RS; welcomes, however, the new measures adopted
by the Federation Parliament allowing returnees from the RS to access pension
benefits and healthcare in the Federation, while suggesting that equal access
to social welfare benefits for all citizens is important; calls on all levels
of government, particularly the RS authorities, to facilitate and accelerate
the return of IDPs and refugees by introducing and implementing all the
necessary legislative and administrative measures; urges cooperation on this
matter and that appropriate conditions be established for their peaceful and
sustainable reintegration; calls for the effective implementation of the
Revised Strategy regarding Annex VII to the Dayton Peace Agreement; calls for
continued good regional cooperation in the framework of the Sarajevo
Declaration Process; urges a comprehensive approach to addressing the remaining
challenges as regards clearing the country of mines by 2019;

20. Reaffirms its support for visa liberalisation, which has brought
about visible positive effects for BiH’s citizens; reiterates its commitment to
safeguarding the right of visa-free travel for the citizens of the Western
Balkans; calls, at the same time, for measures at national level, in particular
socio-economic measures for more vulnerable groups, for active measures aimed
at enhanced cooperation and information exchange to crack down on organised
crime networks, for strengthened border controls and for awareness campaigns;
calls on the Commission to adopt measures to maintain the integrity of the
visa-free scheme and to address potential abuses of the EU asylum system in
cooperation with the Member States;

21. Notes that fighting organised crime and corruption is fundamental to
countering attempts at criminal infiltration of the political, legal and
economic systems; notes that some progress has been made in the fight against
organised crime and terrorism; recalls the importance of meeting GRECO
recommendations; is concerned about reports of growing radicalisation among
young people in BiH, of whom a relatively high number, compared to other
countries in the region, are joining the ISIL terrorist fighters; urges the
authorities to amend the Criminal Code in order to strengthen the
criminalisation of the financing of terrorism; welcomes the amendment to the
Criminal Code seeking to ban and punish membership of foreign paramilitary
groups, in order to prevent religious radicalisation; stresses, in addition,
the importance of preventing all forms of extremism and violent radicalisation;
welcomes also large-scale police operations throughout BiH which have resulted in
the arrest of people suspected of organising, supporting and financing
terrorist activities, including foreign fighters; calls for the inclusion of a
provision on hate crime in the Criminal Code of the Federation of BiH; commends
the relevant BiH agencies for the professionalism shown in their efforts and
determination to combat growing security threats; invites the Commission to
provide the competent authorities with assistance in suppressing all security
and terrorist threats;

22. Strongly condemns the terrorist attack perpetrated on April 27th
2015 on a police station in the Eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik, which claimed
the life of one policeman and injured two others; expresses its solidarity with
the victims and their families; condemns in the strongest terms the violent
extremist ideology behind this attack; calls on the competent authorities,
responsible security agencies and judicial institutions to cooperate in conducting
a swift and thorough investigation and preventing future attacks; expresses hope
that the institutions and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will come together
in combatting the threat of terrorism and extremist violence;

23. Notes that BiH remains a country of origin, transit and destination
for the trafficking of human beings; recommends that the authorities take
effective measures, including legislative measures, to combat trafficking in
drugs and human beings and provide protection for the victims of human
trafficking;

24. Considers it essential to enhance the role of civil society by
enabling it to articulate citizens’ interests, particularly with regard to
young people, as was shown last year during the ‘plenums’; recalls that civil
society can complement the development of a socially cohesive and democratic
society by delivering vital social services; notes that civil society
representatives should play an important role in facilitating the accession
process; urges the Commission to continue making European funds accessible to
civil society organisations; notes that the institutional mechanisms for
cooperation with civil society remain weak and hamper the development of a more
participatory, inclusive and responsive democracy throughout the country;
calls, therefore, for transparent and inclusive public consultation mechanisms involving
all public stakeholders, for the establishment of a framework for public
discussion of important legislative decisions and for the adoption of a
national strategy for civil society; is concerned about the reported cases of
intimidation during last year’s social unrest;

25. Considers it essential to foster an inclusive and tolerant society
in BiH, protecting and promoting minorities and vulnerable groups; recalls that
failure to implement the Sejdić-Finci ruling results in open discrimination
against BiH citizens; urges that steps be taken to strengthen the Human Rights
Ombudsman’s role and to develop, in cooperation with civil society, a
state-level strategy against all forms of discrimination; calls on the
competent authorities to further harmonise the country’s laws with the acquis, paying particular attention to
discrimination on grounds of disability and age, as highlighted in the
Structured Dialogue; calls on the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to
establish a working group on drafting amendments to the BiH Anti-Discrimination
Law without further delay; is concerned at the fact that hate speech, hate
crimes, threats, harassment and discrimination against LGBTI people continue to
be widespread; encourages the authorities to implement awareness-raising
actions on the rights of LGBTI people among the judiciary, law enforcement
agencies and the general public; is concerned that cases of discrimination on
religious grounds continue to be reported;

26. Deeply deplores the continued marginalisation of and discrimination
against Roma; commends the progress made with regard to the housing needs of
Roma, encourages, however, further steps to be taken to improve their living
conditions by improving access to employment, health and education;

27. Notes that, while the legal provisions guaranteeing women’s rights
and gender equality are in place, only limited progress has been made in
implementing such provisions; calls on the competent authorities to pursue
proactively their efforts to increase the participation of women in politics
and the workforce, to combat maternity-related labour market discrimination, to
improve women’s social and economic situation, to promote, protect and
strengthen women’s rights and, in general, to raise public awareness and
people’s understanding of women’s rights; urges the authorities to adopt a
strategy for the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Convention on
preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and to
establish a harmonised system for the monitoring and collection of data on
cases of violence against women;

28. Urges BiH to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity into
the law on hate crimes as soon as possible and thus make it possible to convict
persons who engage in various forms of oppression based on sexual orientation
or gender identity;

29. Notes that legal provisions on freedom of expression are in place;
is concerned, however, about political and financial pressure on the media and
cases of threats and intimidation against journalists and editors, including
during the pre-electoral period; condemns attempts to undermine the existing
rules, which could have damaging implications for freedom of expression and
media freedom, including on line; stresses that events such as the police raid
on the offices of Klix.ba in Sarajevo and the recent adoption by the RSNA of
the controversial Law on Public Order and Peace raise serious concerns about
freedom of expression and freedom of the media, including in social media; stresses
that the ability of the media to operate without fear is essential to a healthy
democracy; urges that freedom of expression and media freedom be fully
respected and that journalists be allowed to obtain information on matters of
public interest; stresses that stable and sustainable financing, editorial
independence, broadcasting in all official languages and pluralism are
essential to public-service media; calls on the authorities to close all
legislative loopholes which systematically hamper the full transparency of
media ownership and to prepare a regulation to ensure that no undue political
influence is exerted; urges the competent authorities to safeguard the
political, institutional and financial independence of public-service
broadcasters and to harmonise entity laws on public broadcasting with
state-level legislation; urges the merit-based appointment of the Director of
the BiH Communication Regulatory Agency Council;

30. Remains concerned about the continuing segregation of children in
public schools on the basis of ethnicity; notes that three different curricula
impede a common, inclusive and objective study of common history and recent
historical events; urges the authorities to effectively implement inclusive
education principles, including with regard to children with disabilities;
urges the new leaders of the country to promote an inclusive and
non-discriminatory education system without any further delay in both entities
and the Brčko District, to eliminate the segregation of different ethnic groups
and to advance education reform aimed at improving education standards and the
introduction of a common curriculum; calls also for the implementation of the
action plan on the educational needs of Roma children and their integration in
the education system to be stepped up;

31. Recalls that the February 2014 protests showed a clear popular
demand among BiH citizens for socio-economic reforms in the country; strongly
believes that the implementation of measures in the six key reform areas of the
Compact for Growth and Jobs will re-stimulate stalled socio-economic reforms,
including on growth and employment and public procurement reforms; calls on the
new governments at state, entity and cantonal levels to work in close
cooperation in order to make economic governance and the Compact a key priority
of reforms; stresses the need to further develop and implement an economic
reform programme;

32. Considers that BiH has made little progress towards becoming a
functioning market economy; emphasises the importance of coping with
competitive pressures and market forces; is concerned that considerable
weaknesses in the business environment continue to negatively affect
private-sector development and foreign direct investment; urges the competent
authorities to address the weak enforcement of the rule of law, the large
informal sector and high levels of corruption, which hamper the business
environment; urges harmonisation with the Solvency II Directive;

33. Stresses the need to reform and harmonise the fragmented social
protection systems on the basis of citizens’ needs in order to provide equal
treatment for all, mitigate poverty and develop a social safety net that is
better targeted towards the poor and socially excluded; highlights the fact
that economic prosperity and job prospects , especially for young people, are
essential to the development of the country; calls on the governments to
implement labour market reforms in order to tackle the very high unemployment
rate, focusing on young people, women and long-term unemployment; notes that
labour and trade union rights are still limited; calls on the authorities to
further enhance and harmonise the relevant laws across the country; stresses
the need to improve education and training in order to address skills mismatches
and increase employability, particularly among young people;

34. Stresses the importance of harmonising and improving existing trade
union rights and rules on working conditions, which at present are not
identical across all sectors; notes also that welfare benefits and pensions are
not equally distributed;

35. Notes that there has been little progress in the fields of the
environment and climate change and calls on the authorities to enhance
environmental protection in line with EU standards; calls on BiH to honour all
its contractual obligations under the Energy Community Treaty and the SAA, and
to ensure adequate and swift approximation towards the EU environmental acquis, including in preventing
excessive air pollution from the oil refinery in Bosanski Brod; emphasises the
need for BiH to fully implement its obligations regarding the Convention on
Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo, 1991) and
the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Kiev, 2003), including with
regard to activities in the Neretva and Trebišnjica River Basin;

36. Welcomes BiH’s constructive and proactive stance in promoting
regional cooperation; commends its frequent joint border patrols with
neighbouring countries; stresses the crucial importance of good neighbourly
relations; invites the new leaders to continue and enhance efforts to resolve
outstanding border and property issues with neighbouring countries; encourages
BiH to finalise the demarcation process with Montenegro in good faith, on the
basis of the agreement reached in May 2014;

37. Regrets that BiH foreign policy has remained subject to divergent
positions, resulting in a low rate of alignment with EU positions (52 %);
recalls the crucial importance of a unified foreign policy for BiH; is
concerned about the implications of Russia’s rejection of the Peace
Implementation Council’s standard language on BiH’s territorial integrity and
its negative narrative on BiH’s EU aspirations; welcomes the continued presence
of Operation Althea, as part of a renewed UN mandate, focusing on capacity
building and training;

38. Calls on the newly elected institutions of BiH to use the
opportunity of the EU’s renewed approach to conclude the Agreement on the
adaptation of the Interim Agreement/SAA, taking into account Croatia’s
accession to the EU and the maintenance of traditional trade;

39. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the VP/HR, the
Council, the Commission, the Presidency of BiH, the Council of Ministers of
BiH, the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and the Governments and Parliaments of
the Federation of BiH and the Republika Srpska and the governments of the 10
counties/cantons.