“Progress on the EU path remains the stated goal of BiH leaders from all ethnic communities. Recently, we have seen some significant initial steps in that direction but much more needs to be done,” High Representative Valentin Inzko stated at a panel discussion in Washington titled “BiH – Towards its European future.” The panel was hosted by Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the Center for Translatlantic relations.
In his remarks, the High Representative outlined the issues that need to be addressed, including the respect for the Dayton Peace Agreement, in particular the Annex 4, which is the Constitution: “Bosnia and Herzegovina is a decentralized country and will remain so, barring constitutional changes agreed to by all ethnic groups. But to say that there is no state of Bosnia and Herzegovina or to deny the authorities of the state in areas like foreign policy and inter-entity law enforcement is false and harmful to reconciliation and future reform.”
The High Representative also highlighted a deterioration in respect for the rule of law as one of the challenges: “The Dayton Peace Agreement defines Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state governed by the ‘rule of law’ and we, as the international community, need to reengage and reinvigorate our efforts to buttress the rule of law, including through stronger anti-corruption efforts. This would help to re-energize the processes of Euro-Atlantic integration.”
“The elected leaders who have declared their commitment to EU integration need to step back from polarized positions and intensively search for compromises needed to adopt the necessary reforms. From the side of the international community, we can and should support all those who demonstrate a true commitment to making BiH a stable, functional and prosperous country, irreversibly integrated into European structures,” the High Representative concluded.