A non-paper on Bosnia and Herzegovina that was prepared at Croatia's initiative has come across a good reception among EU foreign ministers, Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, said on Monday.
At a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday, Grlić Radman presented the non-paper on BiH supported by Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus.
“The document was well accepted and everyone commended it,” said Grlić Radman after the meeting.
He added that the initiative was launched three or four months ago and the document was agreed by the countries willing to support it. Grlić Radman said that he discussed the document with several ministers including the foreign ministers of France and Germany, who also showed support.
The document serves as a basis to discuss Bosnia and Herzegovina at the next EU foreign ministers council as a part of the discussion on the Western Balkans.
The non-paper reads that BiH has to remain in the focus of the EU's attention and that that country's membership in the EU is a priority and aspiration, but for that to happen its entire society needs a comprehensive transformation.
One of the first objectives on that journey is to obtain candidate status for which it needs to fulfil 14 priorities defined by the European Commission.
The non-paper notes that Bosnia and Herzegovina was founded on the principle of the equality of three constituent peoples and all its citizens regardless of which part of the country they live in.
In order to fulfil the political criteria, Bosnia and Herzegovina has to implement the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.
“The fragmented political landscape and atmosphere of mistrust between political representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina often cause blockades of institutions and their functioning and takes them backwards in key reforms. Only by firmly anchoring in European values and standards of civil and political rights for all three constituent peoples and its citizens the country can strengthen its stability and progress. For that to happen, the key reforms, including the reform of the electoral law, need to be adopted without any further delay prior to the 2022 election,” the document notes.
The document adds that the new electoral law in BiH needs to be aligned with European standards and recommendations of the OSCE and 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 the utmost importance not only for its immediate neighbours but also for the region, the EU and the whole of Europe,” the non-paper says.
The document also points out that Bosnia and Herzegovina should implement economic reforms and work on an effective migration policy.
In order to successfully stop illegal migration, the country should ensure effective border control, improve return and readmission procedures, develop a registration and monitoring system, and ensure humanitarian aid for all vulnerable persons and asylum seekers.