Bosnia and Herzegovina
Press: Bosnia-EU relations put on hold
Although ratified by all European Union member states, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU will not go into force because it is the only way to avoid the situation in which the agreement would be immediately suspended given that Bosnia has failed to meet its obligations, the Sarajevo-based Oslobodjenje daily said on Tuesday.
The daily said this would actually save Bosnia from another embarrassment on the international scene and "freezing" the SAA indicates that the EU believes that the situation in Bosnia could significantly change in the coming months, namely that the country will be able to start meeting its international obligations.
Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj has confirmed that Bosnia's current path to the EU of his country was "stopped in its tracks". "Instead of moving towards the opening of our EU membership talks, the gap is getting deeper," Alkalaj said.
He recalled that the enforcement of the SAA would require Bosnia to adopt laws on state assistance and a population census and make progress in the implementation of the ruling handed down by the European Court for Human Rights which said that the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its election legislation were breaching the rights of national minorities while preventing them from running for positions within the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and seats in the House of Peoples.
Bosnia has not yet adopted a law on state assistance as the authorities in the Bosnian Serb entity are against it. The Republika Srpska insists that the issue be regulated exclusively on the level of entities. There is also no agreement on census because authorities cannot agree whether religion and nationality should be part of the census questionnaire.
France was the last country to ratify Bosnia's SAA in late 2010.
After that, the agreement should have gone into effect within 40 days, but this did not happened because Bosnia failed to adopt the necessary amendments to its Constitution.