3rd meeting of the EU-BiH Public Administration Reform Special Group held

The 3rd Meeting of the Public Administration Reform Special Group (PAR SG) for Bosnia and Herzegovina took place on 12th of February 2019 in Banja Luka. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr Dragan Ćuzulan, the Public Administration Reform Coordinator of Bosnia and Herzegovina and by Mr Georg Ziegler the Deputy Head of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina Unit at the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.

The purpose of the PAR SG meeting was, in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, to continue the regular policy dialogue between the European Commission and Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to discuss and assess the progress in the implementation of the reforms of public administration.

The European Commission welcomed the further progress in adopting the PAR Strategic Framework at the state, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity and Brčko District level, urging Republika Srpska entity to expedite adoption at their level. It also urged the drafting and adoption of the Common Action Plan and where needed, complementary Action Plans across government levels. The European Commission emphasised the need to ensure a functional and effective coordination structure with a strong political leadership on PAR. It also stressed the importance of the PAR Fund and of increasing its budgetary ownership by the BiH governments.

In the area of Public Finance Management, the European Commission welcomed the announced adoption of the Republika Srpska entity Strategy within the first quarter of 2019, and urged all levels to expedite the development and adoption of a country-wide strategic framework. In the area of civil service reform, the European Commission emphasised the need to ensure alignment with merit principles for all existing and newly drafted civil service laws. It also reiterated that harmonisation of such legislation across all government levels is crucial in order to have uniform application of the merit principle in civil service procedures.  In the area of policy development and coordination, Bosnia and Herzegovina was encouraged to adopt harmonised guidelines on sector policy planning and monitoring for country-wide policies and establish clear institutional responsibilities for quality control.

In view of improving the quality of legislation and policies, the European Commission highlighted the importance of public consultation and increased use of impact assessments. Involvement of civil society was considered as of utmost importance to improve the benefits of public policies  towards citizens and business. On accountability, the Commission recommended that institutions should ensure transparent and user friendly access to information, including pro-active disclosure of public documents, implementation of Ombudsman recommendations and a coordinated approach on amendments to administrative procedures for service delivery across all levels.