Head of the EU Delegation to Bosna and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, officially handed over the European Commission’s 2016 Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Chair of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr Denis Zvizdić, on 9 November 2016.
The Report sets the context for the next steps on the country’s EU path, including the forthcoming Questionnaire. It maintains the Commission’s approach of addressing reforms related to the rule of law, including security, fundamental rights, public administration reform, as well as economic development and competitiveness and strengthening the role of civil society.
“The publication of the 2016 Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina is of key importance for an issue which I believe should be our common goal – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s path to European Union membership,” said Ambassador Wigemark, highlighting the progress in the implementation of the Reform Agenda, the adoption of the Coordination mechanism and the conclusion of negotiations on Stabilisation and Accession Agreement.
According to this year’s report, several important steps have been taken, such as the adoption of Framework Transport Strategy, publication of 2013 census results and aligning the anti-discrimination law with EU acquis. However, the Head of Delegation/EUSR noted that progress in the public administration reform has yet to be made.
Ambassador noted that Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered convincingly on its EU integration reform path but that there are many outstanding issues for the coming 12 months, such as addressing country’s socio-economic challenges, strengthening fight against corruption and organised crime and improving conditions for the exercise of media freedom. He added that the country authorities now need to actively engage at all levels to ensure the Opinion process runs smoothly. Given the challenging nature of this process, this will be a crucial test of the functionality of the coordination mechanism on EU matters, he concluded.
Ambasador Wigemark emphasised that the EU and its institutions remain firmly committed to helping Bosnia and Herzegovina realise its EU membership ambitions. “You are part of Europe, you should be with us in the European Union,” he said.
Ambassador Wigemark also presented the Country Report to the Collegium of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH.