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Bosnia and Herzegovina must now implement reforms to transform the country into a functional state and follow the path towards the EU

Date

06 Oct 2022

Sections

InfoSociety

Following Sunday’s general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Socialists and Democrats urge the new leaders to overcome ethnic divisions and focus on the necessary reforms towards a prosperous, democratic, and European future. The new government must implement all the commitments and reforms, including the rulings of domestic and international courts, to transform Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) into a fully functional state.

The S&D Group is disappointed that the election campaigns were overshadowed by divisive ethnic rhetoric by political parties instead of focusing on topics concerning the well-being of citizens like unemployment, social inequality, corruption, high inflation, and the energy crisis.

Andreas Schieder, S&D MEP and head of the European Parliament election observation delegation to BiH:

“We concluded that the elections were overall well organized, but regrettably, numerous challenges remain. First, we observed during the elections that the secrecy of voting was often compromised and instances of unauthorized persons were keeping track of voters. Secondly, we were astonished that on election day, the High Representative for Bosnia (OHR) imposed significant further changes to the constitution, which undermines BiH’s democracy and institutions, and particularly the will of the citizens who made use of their democratic rights.

“Following the elections, we now call on all political parties represented in the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and the members of the BiH Presidency to implement the 19-point ‘political agreement on principles for ensuring a functional Bosnia and Herzegovina that advances on the European path’ adopted in Brussels in June.

“Finally, these elections also took place against a background of very challenging internal, regional, and international security threats, namely the presence of Moscow in these elections. We cannot ignore this factor, and especially the visit to the Kremlin by Milorad Dodik, the leader of the Serb-dominated autonomous entity, the Republika Srpska, who has been pushing the separatist agenda for a long time.”

Dietmar Köster, member of the European Parliament election observation delegation to BiH, and S&D shadow rapporteur on BiH added:

“I would like to congratulate S&D sister party, SDP, in achieving a good result in yesterday’s elections, which were conducted largely in a peaceful manner. However, I am disappointed that divergent nationalistic views on the future of the country in the campaigns remain a concern for the functioning of democratic institutions. At this moment, when the country needs more social cohesion, the election campaign were again concentrated on ethnically divisive rhetoric and issues. I hereby call upon the new government to grant equal rights for all nationals of BiH as a matter of urgency.

“In order to achieve progress regarding the 14 key priorities, I support that BiH should be now, after conduct of elections, immediately granted the ‘EU candidate country’ status. This is even more pertinent in the current challenging international and regional circumstances. It is also important that there would be more diplomatic efforts to extend the mandate of EUFOR Althea beyond November 2022.”

 

 

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