The Reform Agenda adopted recently by all three levels of government has a broad scope covering economic, social, administrative and rule of law measures. What reform do you want to see implemented most urgently?

Ivana Kešić,  Sarajevo

Of all the proposed measures on the Reform Agenda, I think the priority should be to reduce the tax burden on labour and investment. Clearly the economic effects of this measure would be reflected in an increase in the employment rate. But not only! The positive effects should be monitored also in the area of protection and promotion of human rights – the implementation of this measure could stimulate an increase in legal employment and a corresponding reduction in the grey economy. That would mean better legal protection for workers and their rights. In the long term, reduced labour costs would make the labour market more attractive to foreign investors, and we must not ignore the fact that reduced labour costs and reduced costs of domestic production would make our products cheaper, and therefore more competitive in the market. The implementation of this reform measure would actually cover other areas that the Reform Agenda targets, such as creating a supportive business climate, strengthening local production and competitiveness, reducing unemployment and, in the long term, increasing public revenues.

Elma Demir,  Zenica

All the measures envisaged in the Reform Agenda for the period 2015-2018 are necessary to address social stagnation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, those relating to the strengthening of the rule of law and public administration reform should be priorities because they are focused on creating effective and accountable institutions. This is the basis for the democratization of BiH society and for stimulating the development and implementation of socio-economic policies. However, a series of similar initiatives and strategies in various fields have been adopted in the last 20 years, but only a very small percentage of planned measures were implemented in practice. The authorities formally opt for change; they adopt conventions, action plans, and various laws, but continually fail to implement them. This is due to lack of control mechanisms and sanctions, as well as low levels of social accountability. Most citizens denounce corruption, nepotism, economic and organized crime, inefficient public services and institutions, but very few people do anything concrete about the problems or become socially active. Most organizations in the country, including political parties, trade unions, associations, interest groups, and public institutions do not apply democratic principles and procedures in their work. Without personal commitment and insistence upon democratization of all aspects of BiH society, we cannot expect significant change in the country. Therefore, the Reform Agenda will become a reality only if its implementation is accompanied by initiatives that involve citizens, informal groups, media and civil society in decision-making processes, implementation and monitoring.

Vanja Milašinović, Banja Luka

I believe that the most urgent and necessary reforms for Bosnia and Herzegovina are those concerning the establishment of the rule of law. The rule of law is a precondition for the implementation of other reforms. In other words, without the rule of law, a large part of the reforms such as those related to the establishment of an efficient public administration, transparency in employment, tax collection, reduction of public spending and reforming the social system will be difficult to implement. From the perspective of an economist and someone who often has the opportunity to talk to business people from the European Union and the United States, the biggest problem of our society is corruption. Corruption diverts investment, prevents the creation of jobs, stimulates the grey economy and the negative impact on public finances. One of the cures for the fight against corruption, among others, is the rule of law.