BiH Central Bank Project Given “Triple A”

The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CBBiH) have successfully completed an 18-month technical assistance programme financed with 1 million Euros from the European Commission’s Instrument for Pre-Accession 2008 fund. The programme was implemented by the ECB through the Eurosystem National Central Banks of Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Spain.

Jurgis Vilcinkas, Head of the European and Economic Integration Section at the EU Delegation, speaking at a ceremony in Sarajevo on Friday to mark the successful completion of the project, said that through the project, money from the EU tax-payer has been invested in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s monetary and financial stability and in its effort to apply European standards.

“In language that central bankers understand I would say that this project has earned a triple A,“Vilcinskas said. “It has transferred know-how and knowledge to a very important strata of public finances.“

Vilcinskas said the adoption of European standards has been crucial for the CBBiH as it prepares to join the European system of Central Banks when Bosnia and Herzegovina secures EU membership. The main goal of the project has been to integrate into the Eurosystem. This will help expand the financial market in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and by doing that it will help to foster economic growth and job creation.

“The EU is looking for responsive and coherent national policies to control and manage risk,” Vilcinkas said.

“As a country in transition and as a potential EU candidate country, Bosnia and Herzegovina can take advantage of good practices and success stories from the EU and continue with structural reforms to boost its economic potential in energy, agriculture and manufacturing exports, and reduce obstacles to domestic and foreign investment.”

Capacities of institutions to carry out reforms and implement macro-economic policies are crucial to this process and the EU Delegation is ready to continue offering assistance to the CBBiH and the BiH authorities in this area, Vilcinkas said. Gilles Noblet, the ECB’s Deputy Director General of International and European Relations, said the ECB technical assistance programme has contributed to an overall strengthening of BiH institutions, and he noted that strong and well- managed institutions are essential for Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the European Union. “Governments and central banks in their respective domains must ensure sound fiscal and monetary policy,” Noblet said.

“That is the best contribution we can make to economic growth, and to our citizens.” CBBiH Governor Kemal Kozarić said the main impact of the programme would be visible in a new statistics system regarding interest rates, in staff training on short-term forecasts, and in the formulation of a CBBiH EU-integration road- map. Also as a result of the program, the CBBiH Law has been brought into line with EU central banking standards and rules, and a framework for financial stability analysis focusing on trends and risks has been established.