European Union Unblocks Membership Path for Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina
[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The "Sejdić-Finci" decision referred to herein was the product of a complaint by Bosnian Roma representative Dervo Sejdić and Bosnian Jewish leader Jakob Finci against the imposition in the 1995 Dayton accords, which ended the war in Bosnia, of a restriction on executive political positions to members of the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim), Serbian, and Croatian ethnicities. CIP supports equal citizenship for all Bosnians and welcomes the confirmation of the "Sejdić-Finci" decision.]
March 17, 2015 - Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, the European Union unblocked Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) path towards EU membership after BiH's leaders agreed to implement a series of reforms. Originally signed in 2008, the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) remained stagnant as BiH's accession was blocked by its failure to implement the 2009 "Sejdić-Finci" decision.
The "Sejdić-Finci" decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), ruled that the constitution of BiH violates the European Convention on Human Rights by not allowing ethnic minorities to run for the tripartite Presidency and the House of Peoples. Compliance with all decisions of ECtHR is a prerequisite for BiH's eventual EU membership, and had served as a precondition in order for the SAA to go into effect. The recent U.K.-German initiative on BiH, now known as the EU initiative, however, opened the path for BiH by delaying the need to immediately amend the constitutional change by implementing the ECtHR "Sejdić-Finci" decision.
"ACBH welcomes the decision made by the EU foreign ministers in paving the way for BiH to eventually submit a formal membership bid to the EU. The future of BiH lies in the EU and the SAA is the first step on that path. This decision should be an impetus for BiH's political leadership to carry out the necessary economic and social reforms in order to bring BiH up to EU standards," stated ACBH Executive Director, Ajla Delkić.
Earlier this year, leaders of BiH's major political parties signed a written pledge in support of the EU initiative in order to unfreeze BiH's EU integration process. In addition to providing financial and technical assistance, the SAA will allow BiH greater access to the EU markets. With an unemployment rate looming at around 40%, Brussels aims to encourage economic reform before tackling political reform issues. ACBH will continue to advocate for BiH's EU and NATO integration and calls on the citizens of BiH to hold the political elites accountable in order to guarantee BiH's place in the EU family of nations.
ACBH is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of Bosnian Americans and works to improve relations between the United States and BiH. ACBH advocates for a united, democratic, multiethnic, and indivisible BiH with a primary goal of advancing the integration of BiH into the EU and NATO.
Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH)
1510 H Street, N.W., Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20005
E:mail: [email protected]