Bosnia and Herzegovina: Joint statement by HR/VP Josep Borrell and Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on the holding of local elections in Mostar

Yesterday was a very important day for the citizens of Mostar: after 12 years, they were given back their voice and were able to cast their vote to elect their local representatives.

The European Union welcomes that the elections took place in an orderly manner in the city, as confirmed by the electoral authorities and local observers. The new City Council has now to adopt a revised City Statute and elect a new Mayor to address the governance issues that affect the daily life of all Mostar residents.

Holding municipal elections in Mostar is amongst the 14 key priorities of the Commission’s Opinion on the EU membership application of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and represents an important step forward for the country on its EU integration path.

The EU recalls the need to fully address all the Opinion key priorities for Bosnia and Herzegovina to  be recommended  for  the  opening  of  accession  negotiations. While taking into account the country-specific context, election-related issues should be addressed in line with European standards. Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to implement OSCE/ODIHR and relevant Venice Commission recommendations, ensure the transparency of political party financing, and start addressing the Sejdić-Finci case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

The EU stands ready to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in addressing these important issues and all key reforms which will allow the country to advance towards the EU.