Two trends are developing in parallel in Bosnia and Herzegovina, High Representative Valentin Inzko said in New York today. On the one hand, there have been positive steps taken towards EU integration, culminating in “the truly significant fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina has now taken a decisive step towards EU candidacy status”. On the other, there “is the tendency by some political actors to return to the divisive and destructive agendas of the past.”
Speaking at the UN Security Council while presenting the 50th OHR report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the High Representative said it was necessary to ask “how long these two dynamics can be sustained before the second overwhelms the first.”
He called on the international community to deliver a strong message to leaders who seem “to work for European Union integration and the internal disintegration of the country at the same time”. He said such individuals “will not lead their constituencies to prosperity or integration with Euro-Atlantic structures,” but will simply end up in isolation.
The High Representative stressed that BiH leaders still have the capacity to make Bosnia and Herzegovina “a peaceful, stable, functional, multi-ethnic country, fully and irreversibly integrated in European structures,” and he welcomed the Security Council’s decision to confirm the extension of the EU military force’s executive mandate, which he said is essential to building confidence and buttressing stability.
Among positive developments, in addition to progress towards European integration and the peaceful and efficient conduct of the municipal elections in October, the High Representative highlighted the June publication of the results of the first post-war census, though he was obliged to add that leaders should use the newest census results for better and more effective socio-economic planning, rather than for discussion about ethnic distribution of the population around the country.