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The EU Council: Local elections in BiH conducted in an orderly manner

On 17 October 2016, the EU Council adopted conclusions on Bosnia and Herzegovina, taking stock of recent political developments in the country, announced the Delegation of the EU to BiH. The Council reiterated its unequivocal commitment to the EU perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina as single, united and sovereign country, adopting six conclusions.

We published them in full.

“1. The Council reiterates its unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country. In this context the Council welcomes the progress achieved in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU integration process and reflected in the Council Conclusions of 20 September 2016.

2. The Council notes that overall the local elections which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 2 October 2016 were conducted in an orderly manner. The few irregularities and isolated violent incidents should be investigated by the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities. The Council regrets the unlawful holding of an entity-level referendum on the Republika Srpska day, in violation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court decision of 17 September 2016; this referendum caused unnecessary tensions and challenged the rule of law. The Council encourages the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina to resolve this issue through the established legal processes, constructive dialogue and the existing constitutional framework. The Council will continue to monitor the situation.

3. The Council calls on Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue focussing on its EU integration process, including by the effective implementation of the Reform Agenda, which is necessary for addressing the economic and social challenges, as well as in the areas of rule of law and public administration. The Council further calls on Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions to demonstrate renewed efforts in particular regarding the functioning of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organised crime as well as the fight against radicalisation and terrorism.

4. The EU at the same time encourages the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the support of the international community, to accelerate their efforts to address the disposal of excess ammunition and other outstanding issues.

5. The Council welcomes the continued presence of Operation Althea, which retains the capability to contribute to the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities’ deterrence capacity if the situation so requires while focusing on capacity building and training. In this context, as part of the overall EU strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council confirms the EU’s readiness to continue at this stage the executive military role of Operation Althea to support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities to maintain the safe and secure environment, under a renewed UN mandate.

6. The Council invites the High Representative to present the foreseen Strategic Review in autumn 2017, as a basis for discussion with Member States on options for the future of the Operation, also bearing in mind Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress in its EU integration process and taking into account the security situation on the ground.”