European Commission Vice-President and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini will recommend to the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers of EU to reopen the SAA (Stabilization and Association Agreement) process with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the SAA with EU several years ago but due to political deadlock and political unwillingness in Sarajevo was stalled and completely stopped by EU.
Election of new governing majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was followed by fairly quick of formation of government (just five months after elections) enabled EU to reconsider and reopen this process. As Vice-President Mogherini said in Sarajevo last month this is a historic chance for Bosnia and Herzegovina to move towards full candidacy and to move a step forward on it’s road towards European family.
Vice-President Mogherini recommendation comes as a result of promise signed by all Bosnia and Herzegovina political leaders earlier this year. Germany, United Kingdom and Croatia started this process as a initiative to help Bosnia and Herzegovina to move and join Serbia and Montenegro on the road to a full membership through negotiations with EU but also to be bound to deliver much needed reforms.
While this is very positive move for Bosnia and Herzegovina it doesn’t mean that a road towards EU will be any lighter or easier than it was for other regional countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina would have to deal with it’s own problems in areas of human rights, justice, legislative reforms which will move national legal framework much closer to those of European Union system, governmental reforms would follow and would consume a largest part of Bosnia and Herzegovina future dealings with European Union.
Presiding member of Bosnia and Herzegovina tripartite Presidency, Mladen Ivanić (Serb), said on Friday for FACE TV in Sarajevo that this situation should be embraced by local government and used to help improve a current situation.
“I don’t think that we should run into a full membership. Once this Agreement is approved we should slow down, take a time to deal with reforms and to use EU funds to finish some projects. One of those projects could be highway from Banja Luka to Mostar which would connect north and the south of the country. We should also use available EU funds to help our reforms processes”, said Ivanić.
Mr. Ivanić also called on united front formed by local political leaders especially federal and entity Prime Ministers which would be focused at the most important projects and would go as united country initiatives towards EU partners.
Once SAA process is reopen Bosnia and Herzegovina will join Serbia and Montenegro who are already candidate countries, on the other end of Western Balkans spectrum Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia would continue their struggle to get SAA process up to signing phase.