Croatia: FM urges EU to “help Bosnia and Herzegovina”

Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said in Brussels on Monday that the European Union must help Bosnia and Herzegovina become a stable and institutionally functioning country.

“We must help Bosnia and Herzegovina achieve political and institutional stability, which is essential for its European path,” Grlic Radman told reporters before a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

One of the topics discussed will be the situation in the Western Balkans in preparation for a more comprehensive discussion on the region at one of the forthcoming meetings of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

Grlić Radman announced that he would present a non-letter letter on Bosnia and Herzegovina today, a joint initiative by Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus.

The document says Bosnia and Herzegovina must remain the focus of the EU, and its accession to the EU is a priority that will require the country’s comprehensive transformation.

Among the first goals on this path is for Bosnia and Herzegovina to receive the status of a candidate for membership, for which it must meet the 14 priorities set by the European Commission.

The document adds that Bosnia and Herzegovina is founded on the principle of equality of its three constituent peoples and all its citizens, regardless of which part of the country they live in.

In order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet the political criteria, it must implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The fragmented political landscape, as well as the climate of mistrust between political representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina, often causes a functional blockade of institutions and the backwardness of key reforms. Only by firmly anchoring the European values ​​and standards of civil and political rights of the three constituent peoples and its citizens can the country strengthen its stability and make progress. In order to achieve this, key reforms, including the reform of electoral legislation, must be adopted without further delay before the 2022 general elections, according to the document.

The new election law must be in line with European standards and the recommendations of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Venice Commission in order to avoid any manipulation in the election process.

We want Bosnia and Herzegovina to take a decisive and sustainable step towards political stability, a functioning market economy and prosperity for all its citizens. “The stability, security, prosperity and functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single, united and sovereign state is of great importance not only for its close neighbors, but also for the region, the EU and the whole of Europe,” he said.

The document also shows that Bosnia and Herzegovina must implement economic reforms and work on an effective migration policy. In order to successfully stop illegal migration, the country needs to ensure effective border control, improve return and readmission procedures, develop a registration and monitoring system, and provide humanitarian assistance to all vulnerable persons and asylum seekers.

EU foreign ministers will also discuss the situation in Russia, relations with Turkey and the situation in Venezuela, Georgia and Burma. They will discuss the world human rights situation with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

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