Banja Luka, 20-26 June 2015
Representatives of the European Commission and Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions met in Banja Luka on 25th to 26th June 2015 to discuss the level of approximation of the country in the fields of agriculture and fisheries, paying particular regard to food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary issues.
During the meeting, developments in the area of agriculture were discussed. The Commission emphasized that BiH needs to strengthen efforts to further enhance its institutional capacities, coordination, and legal framework in these areas of the European Commission’s acquis. Further efforts are also needed to establish relevant national structures for the provision of pre-accession assistance to the agricultural sector through EU pre-accession aid (IPARD). State level legislation on wine and organic production also has to be harmonised with the acquis, and a country-wide rural development strategic plan must also be adopted. The Commission reiterated the need to find a solution regarding the legal framework for an agricultural census.
Regarding food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary matters, the parties took note of the fact that a Commission Decision will be adopted very shortly which will enable BiH to export potatoes to the EU. This will contribute to an increase in the export potential of BiH and to the competitiveness and growth of the country’s agricultural sector.
The Commission also commended BiH authorities on the establishment and approval of its Action Plan to control the production and processing of dairy products intended for export to the EU, an important step in allowing BiH to export milk and dairy products to the bloc. The Commission now expects all aspects of the Action Plan to be fully implemented in a coordinated manner without delay across the country, by state- and entity-level administrations. Further efforts are generally needed within BiH to improve the chain of command and the official food and feed control system which is not yet fully aligned with European standards, which is one reason for BiH still being forbidden from exporting most animal products to the EU market.
Regarding the food processing sector in BiH, the Commission encouraged the BiH authorities to put an emphasis on further developing a strategy for a viable food supply chain, in order to exploit the county’s potential and allow for better utilization of existing processing capacities.