Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) political leaders need to harmonise their various positions and respond to EU requirements in one clear voice in order to fulfill their roadmap by November 1st, Union officials said at a meeting last week.
"The aim of the meeting is to explain how the process of European integrations functions and to help BiH to have a co-ordination mechanism between the entity and state level. If BiH fulfills the requirements of this road map, it would be able to submit its EU candidacy in November," Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said.
While it seems obvious that BiH politicians must not miss this opportunity, citizens and analysts are sceptical about whether they will succeed.
Bozo Ljubic, president of the Croatian Democratic Party 1990, HDZ 1990, participated in the Brussels talks.
"It is now clear that the EU is not an imaginary story, but it's a concrete set of tasks to be solved. It's up to us to test ourselves and see whether we are capable to do this work." Ljubic told SETimes.
European officials view as a top priority the enforcement of the 2009 judgment rendered by the European Court of Human Rights in the so-called Sejdic-Finci case. The court ruled that the BiH Constitution violates international law because it bars ethnic minorities from running for major state posts.
That must be rectified by August 31st, according to the roadmap. A second key task involves public procurement and environmental protection, which the EU said must be resolved by November 1st.
Tanja Topic, political analyst at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, told SETimes that citizens need to see results from politicians.
"They violated countless number of political agreement so far ... There is no political will and all agreements are signed only declaratively. They say that they are willing to solve the problems, but in practice, denies them. Look at the countries of the region: everyone is going forward. Only BiH needs some special treatment," Topic said.
Borislav Bojic, vice president of the Serbian Democratic Party, said that the EU made clear that BiH must become a functional state from which Brussels can expect concrete results.
"Europe is seeking one answer to the question it raises. This mechanism will enable us to respond with one voice. No one will be able to trick anybody and every answer will have to be in compliance by all three peoples in BiH before being sent to Brussels," Bojic told SETimes.
Marijan Bender, 35, an unemployed resident of Sarajevo, said that citizens simply do not trust the politicians.
"They formed the government 15 months after elections. Now, we actually don't know who is in the government because they are reconstructing it. It's unthinkable to me that someone can't do his job and yet get paid for it. If they gamble away this opportunity, then we should be excluded from all the institutions of Europe," Bender told SETimes.
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