The process of government formation in our country and coalition relations have dominated Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) public space in recent months, which has largely overshadowed BiH’s candidate status and all the tasks facing political actors. The European Union (EU) warns: it is time for clear evidence that you are ready to implement the necessary reforms. But, is the implementation of reforms and the upward trajectory towards European integration the reality of BiH’s politics?
The candidate status for BiH is the result of changed geopolitical circumstances, and not the merit of politicians is a clear message from European officials. The implementation of reforms has been delayed until now and it is time for significant reform progress, says the head of the EU Delegation in our country. He says that there are high expectations from the new authorities.
The new government in BiH has the deadline until the summer to show whether it really wants to implement reforms that are essential for membership in the EU, and the European path necessarily means alignment with the EU’s foreign policy in relation to Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Declaratively, the authorities are committed to the European path. However, clear tasks of the European Commission are still pending, primarily constitutional reforms. While armchairs are priorities, prepared laws are either in drawers or parliamentary procedures. Whether they will be adopted depends on the will of the politicians, but it is clear that by the summer they will have to show a clear form directed towards the EU, which is feasible, our interlocutors say. But, to start the reform process, we need:
”The parliament will soon have to put these laws on the agenda, I assume, I expect that these laws will have a majority and to begin with you have exactly the right steps, laws that are defined as laws that meet European legal standards, they are adopted by the BiH parliament, there is no better start to the reform process,” Edin Dilberovic said, director of the Directorate for EU Integration.
And to start the reform process, it is necessary to adopt a new law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPCC) and laws that would speed up the work of the judiciary. It is clear that we are far from that, and that the laws in the procedure do not reflect a significant step forward in the functioning of the judiciary. Is it realistic to expect their adoption this year?
”Whether that will happen depends on the EU itself, that is, the EU’s offer for leaders in BiH, and that is what it means when these laws are adopted, when changes are made, what is it that BiH is getting, at this moment according to what the European Commission says, it is not a recommendation for opening negotiations on EU membership, it is not additional funds, it is not in any way an additional value on the path of BiH to the EU,” Adi Cerimagic stated, analyst of the Initiative for EU Stability from Berlin.
Therefore, Europe’s expectations are that the authorities fulfill the conditions for possible further negotiations. But, first of all, it is necessary that the politicians themselves believe in the necessary reforms, and not their own interests, and start negotiations so that they can expect concrete offers from Europe.