Democratic and fair elections are essential for every democratic society, so the adoption of the state budget that includes the funds for elections is very important, European Union ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler told Fena news agency.
Regardless of whether Bosnia's local elections will take place in October or November, it is important that they are held throughout the country, he said.
“I definitely think it's a step forward, it is a major step forward. It's a major step forward for Mostar but I also think this has a potential to relax the political situation throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Sattler, the Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He recalled this would be the first time after 12 years that citizens of Mostar could cast their ballot, which is a result of a political agreement on “one of the most difficult issues.”
“This gives us hope for the future. It gives confidence that we will be able and we can solve issues which are currently on the table, including constitutional issues,” he added.
The ambassador also spoke about the crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic, noting that the EU has been and will be providing financial assistance for the recovery of Bosnia and Herzegovina but the country will also be able to benefit from the EU-funded projects, particularly in its healthcare sector.
“We are maybe not the loudest when it comes to making PR for ourselves, but you can be sure we are the most loyal partner of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said the ambassador.
As for Bosnia's EU membership path, Sattler stressed that the country has not made any significant progress since May 2019, when the European Commission published its opinion on Bosnia's membership application and outlined the recommendations the country should implement in order to make progress on that path.
However, according to him, Bosnia did start making progress in the past four months, particularly by reaching the agreement on Mostar elections and with the State Presidency adopting an initiative on the EC's recommendation.
He mentioned as one of the priorities of the EU integration the amending of the Public Procurement Law, which is seemingly very “dry” but very important as it “prevents corruption and improves the living standard of the citizens of this country.”
The second priority would be the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, the state top judicial institution, as it concerns the rule of law, the number one segment of the integration, said Sattler.
Full interview available in the video below: