Bosnia and Herzegovina has adopted a coordination mechanism for European Union (EU) matters, satisfying one of the two key preconditions for approval of candidate status for membership to the EU, Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said on Wednesday.
Zvizdic confirmed that the country's authorities wish to resolve the other problem as soon as possible and that is the adaptation of the temporary trade agreement with the EU to apply to Croatia too.
"Deadlocks that existed have been overcome," Zvizdic told a press conference, adding that European integration remains to be a key priority for the incumbent authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He claimed that EU representatives have recognised that Bosnia and Herzegovina is back on the European path and strongly support the continuation of reforms.
"After we submit the application for candidate status, we expect a positive reply very soon," Zvizdic said.
He assessed that the implementation of the reform plan adopted in July 2015 was progressing well. This refers to 17 of 33 planned measures at the state level, Zvizdic said.
The coordination mechanism for EU matters was in fact adopted on January 26 however, no-one knew about this until the decision was advertised in the country's official gazette on February 9. Zvizdic claims that there are no secrets and that the document was released later in order to offer entity authorities time to become familiar with the document.
We received positive feedback from those levels, however, he could not confirm with certainty whether entities had accepted the document in its entirety. He suggested that the mechanism be given a chance and that it could be gradually adapted if any insufficiencies were to arise.
The coordinating mechanism itself actually means communication between certain levels of government in charge of certain segments, which would help form the basis of a unified stance on certain issues.
That mechanism, he said, is based on respect of the constitutional structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina with its various levels of government and took into account the efficiency of how decisions are adopted and that it be in line with the provisions of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
The mechanism comprehends eight different levels of bodies and of decision-making levels required to satisfy European standards and at the top of that pyramid is a college of sixteen people, consisting of state and entity prime ministers, cantonal heads of ten cantons within the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Mayor of the Brcko District. If decisions cannot be reached at lower levels then the casting vote will be made at the level of that college.
Even though this is an exceptionally complex system which includes a large number of people Zvizdic believes that that will not be a problem. He mentioned the example of Croatia where in certain periods up to 1,600 people were involved in this process.