Schmidt: A road has opened for BiH to get EU candidate status by end of the year

NEWS 05.10.2022 16:05
Source: F.Z./N1

International peace envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt said, as he opened a press conference on Wednesday, that he was not sitting idle over the past few days, hinting at his decision to change Bosnia's electoral legislation. He thanked the voters for using their right and voting in the Sunday election. According to him, his latest decisions have paved the way for Bosnia and Herzegovina to get the European Union candidate status by the end of this year.

Schmidt used his special competencies on the election day, hours after the polling stations were closed, imposing changes to the Law on Elections of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Constitution of the Federation entity, officially naming the decision ‘Measures to improve Federation Functionality’.

“It cannot happen that the elected majorities are not passing decisions for four years,” said Schmidt, referring to the previous general election, whose results have never been fully implemented.

“My aim was and has remained to prevent it from happening this time,” he added.

International community's High Representative, whose original role is to oversee the implementation of the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the 1992-95 war, was also assigned with special powers to impose laws and dismiss officials, in order to prevent blockades and enable functionality of the country's system.

“The country that needs to join the European Union must create foundations. This is why I created conditions for decisions on who is going to be a president, prime minister and so on to be made soon after the vote. I am shocked that anyone was surprised by that,” Schmidt told the reporters.

He also confirmed that he held talks with political parties on this matter, noting that those parties include the SDA, the Democratic Front, the HDZ as well as the civic parties which, he noted, are “very important” to him.

As for the timing of his decision, Schmidt stressed that there was no intention to impact the will of voters so he did not unveil it before the polling stations closed.

Schmidt also said that he has allowed himself to be “unkind” and to set deadlines, one of them including the deadline for the President and Vice Presidents of the Federation entity to propose judges for the Federation's Constitutional Court by Friday.

“This means that the House of Peoples now must hold a session. I emphasised in my decision that the House of Peoples can hold a session after the elections,” he stressed.

Schmidt also noted that the electoral legislation needs more modifying and that reform must continue. All court rulings concerning the electoral legislation must be implemented as soon as possible, he stressed, adding that there can no longer be any delays.

Speaking of further steps, Schmidt said it is necessary to move away from the situation where only representatives of political parties are making decisions in the country and he announced talks with representatives of civic initiatives, youth, artists, film industry representatives, etc.

“Also, a decision on the Dayton 2 will not be made at an airbase in the USA – that will happen in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Schmidt, referring to the Dayton Peace Agreement, the peace deal which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war and introduced the country's constitutional setup, and its potential modifications.

Stressing the importance of the participation of citizens, Schmidt said that he introduced two items in the Federation's Constitution, which enable their participation without having to speak about their affiliation.

“Direct democracy is not entirely simple to organise, but it is a good path. We can make it all happen within a one-year period,” Schmidt underlined.

Commenting on the part of his decision referring to the increased number of delegates in the House of Peoples, he said he decided to do so due to large disproportionality.

“I wanted to take into consideration the court rulings and maybe to introduce one new aspect or perspective,” he explained, adding that some novelties have been also introduced in the process of the election of the president due to the blockades that were used, as he said, in one corps

This is the reason, he emphasised, why he introduced deadlines to nominate candidates and if the process is not finalised within a certain period of time, the process will then be adjusted.

“I recommend that the discussion about the Ljubic case ends with this. For me, the Ljubic case is over with this,” he said.

According to Schmidt, he has paved the way for Bosnia and Herzegovina to get the status of the EU candidate country, possibly by the end of the year.

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