International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

EU Spec. Rep: Bosnia could get €250 million if it proves progress on rule of law

October 7, 2020

Rule of law is very important for the European Union, which is offering 250 million Euros in aid to Bosnia if the country proves that it made progress on the issue and judicial reform, the EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Johann Sattler, told N1 on Wednesday.

Sattler spoke to N1 a day after he handed the European Commission 2020 Report on Bosnia to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Zoran Tegeltija.

The Report said, among other things, that Bosnia has not made little to no progress in public administration reform, reform of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and fundamental rights of minorities in the past 16 months.

In May last year, the European Commission defined 14 priorities that Bosnia and Herzegovina should focus on in order to achieve a positive opinion on Bosnia’s EU candidate status application.

Tegeltija said on Tuesday that Bosnia should be able to meet those conditions by spring next year.

“I believe that this is ambitious when looking at the 14 key priorities,” Sattler told N1, arguing that some of them are issues that could be resolved quickly and there could be progress only if politicians are determined to work for the well being of the country.

The most important thing is to focus on the 14 priorities, he said, arguing that the process of Bosnia tackling these issues accordingly is “painfully long” and that citizens are leaving the country because of it.

“This is a call for action,” he said, adding that if Bosnia and Herzegovina does its part of the task then the European Union will do its part from the other side.

Sattler said on Tuesday that there are three key laws that must be adopted - the law on conflict of interest, the law on public procurement, and amendments to the law on the Bosnia’s top judicial institution, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC).

“These three laws are part of 14 key priorities. After the meeting with Tegeltija, I am encouraged that this will happen by the end of the year,” he said.

However, Sattler expressed disappointed that “we have not made progress in the area of the rule of law in a year.”

“Citizens are dissatisfied with the situation in the judiciary. There was a lot of resistance to reforms within the judiciary, but also within politics,” he said, but reiterated that this is a condition for the payment of macroeconomic assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The EU is offering 250 million euros in aid, but in order for Bosnia to get the money, it must first show progress on rule of law, he said.

Sattler argued that rule of law is highly important for every democratic society and that examples from the region show how important judicial reform is.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a476786/EU-Spec.-Rep-Bosnia-could-get-250-million-if-it-proves-progress-on-rule-of-law.html

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