Representatives from the European Commission (Commission) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) met in Sarajevo on 25 October 2017 to discuss the level of implementation of the SAA and of approximation of the country legislation to the EU acquis in the field of agriculture and fisheries, including food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary issues.
The meeting was co-chaired for the EU by Mr. Georg Ziegler from the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, and for Bosnia and Herzegovina by Mr. Dušan Nešković from the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations.
During the meeting, developments in the area of agriculture were discussed. The Commission reiterated that BiH needs to strengthen efforts to further enhance its institutional capacities, coordination and legal framework in these areas of the acquis. The Commission welcomed the elaboration of a countrywide Strategic Plan for Rural Development of BiH and called on all relevant authorities to accelerate the adoption process. The Commission drew attention to the fact that substantial EU funding would be available for this sector including for food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary issues on the condition that the strategy is adopted by the end of 2017.
The Commission reiterated its call to BiH to overcome the stalemate on the agricultural census which had lasted for several years. The Commission also welcomed the finalisation of the state law on wine and expressed the expectation that the law would be adopted soon and that the entity laws would also soon be harmonised. The Commission welcomed progress on the rulebook on geographical indications and called upon BiH to finalise the adoption process. The Commission also called for the adoption of a state level law on organic farming, and recalled that the agricultural information systems have yet to be harmonised throughout BiH.
In the areas of food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary issues, the Commission reiterated its call for BiH to adopt its package of state level laws on food safety and veterinary matters. The Commission noted that BiH intends to apply for authorisation to export pasteurised raw milk and dairy products to the EU. The Commission welcomed the overall good level of vaccination against lumpy skin disease achieved in BiH. The Commission also welcomed BiH joining the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention).
Fishery policies in BiH also still need to be harmonised across the country and aligned with the EU acquis in order to increase the BiH producers’ export potential to the EU. The Commission called on BiH to sign the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration on cooperation and sustainable development of fisheries for all coastal states in the Mediterranean which the country had previously announced.