EP Draft Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina: Fragmentation and politicisation of public administration hampering institutional and legislative reforms

European Parliament

The rapporteur of the European Parliament for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Preda, presented a draft report on a motion for a European Parliament resolution following a 2016 Commission Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The report once again welcomed the progress BiH is showing on the accession path to the EU but it also reinstates the general message of the need for independent, functional and stable judiciary reminding that corruption including at the highest level, continues to be a burden on this path.

The report states a deep regret that the Rules of procedure needed for the functioning of Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee have still not been adopted and therefore this committee could not be properly constituted.

While pointing out the long lasting inability of BH authorities to come up with a viable solution needed for organizing local elections in Mostar, adding this time the case of incidents in Stolac that occurred during the last local elections, the report nevertheless indicates that the elections have been conducted in an orderly manner.

Pointing out the slow progress on the issues of penalizing corruption, the report calls for greater professional specialisation within the police and the judiciary by means of appropriate coordination channels, urging the rapid adoption of the action plan for the implementation of the 2014-2018 justice sector reform. Additionally, it stresses concern about the continued fragmentation and politicisation of public administration, which hampers institutional and legislative reforms.

By mentioning the referendum on the RS day, held on 25 September 2016, Preda reiterates the regret that constitutional court decisions are not being implemented emphasising that respect for the country’s constitutional framework is of paramount importance for advancing on the EU path.

Preda underlines the need for a substantial improvement in the strategic, legal, institutional and policy frameworks on the observance of human rights and calls for efforts to increase the participation of women in political life and employment. In addition, the report raises concerns about cases of political pressure and intimidation against journalists as well as the lack of transparency in media ownership.

Earlier mentioned fragmentation is an issue not just in the public administration but in the area of education the report states, calling for countrywide common core curricula and better coordination between the different levels of education governance.

Concluding the report, Preda welcomed the 3-year Extended Fund Facility programme agreed with the IMF as well as the slight reduction in unemployment,  expressing hope that this will further improve business climate but regrets the absence of unified single economic area within the country as well as very high levels of brain drain calling the competent authorities to introduce active labour market policies targeting in particular the youth, women and the long-term unemployed.