The government formation is currently the priority number one in Bosnia, according to outgoing European Union's Special Representative Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, who commented on the standstill in the country following the failed attempts to form the government after the last year's election.
“Of course, we understand there is a number of important issues that need to be sorted out but not having a government is paralysing the whole country. That's the main problem,” he said speaking after a farewell meeting with prime minister Denis Zvizdic, who is still formally the Chairman of Bosnia's Council of Ministers.
Although the leaders of three strongest nationalist parties signed earlier this month an agreement that among other things stipulates the principles to form the government, the statements they gave in the following days showed the deal was not likely to be implemented within 30 days, as agreed.
The leaders of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) Milorad Dodik, the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) Dragan Covic and the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) Bakir Izetbegovic put the signatures on the document on August 5, in Wigermrk's presence.
“We believe it's a good basis for a coalition government and there doesn't seem to be any alternatives,” said the EU's representative, speaking to media on Wednesday.
But, the country's road to NATO which was vaguely mentioned in the leaders’ agreement is a stumbling stone and has been preventing the government formation in the past ten months after the general election was held.
While the Bosniak and Croat representatives support the membership, the Serb political leadership is against it and is resolute in maintaining the stance on military neutrality and now object sending of the country's first Annual National Programme (ANP) to the NATO.
According to Wigemark, the issue is being exaggerated.
“The country needs a government, without a government there is no EU integration, there is also no NATO integration. The NATO issue, in our opinion, has been blown out of proportion. This question of submitting the Annual National Programme is a technical question. We discussed this with our NATO colleagues and they fully agree. We would of course also like to see the country moving forward in terms of its relations with NATO,” said the EU's official, noting that even Serbia now has better relations with the alliance and “if Serbia can do that, Bosnia and Herzegovina can do it.”
It is the leaders’ job to find a compromise, he stressed, “that's what they did on 5th of August and that's what they should do on 5th of September or whenever.”