The results of the population census in Bosnia and Herzegovina, conducted in 2013, could be made public in June, provided that an agreement was reached on disputed issues concerning data processing, officials of the country's state- and entity-level statistics agencies decided at a meeting with the director of the European Union's statistical office (Eurostat), Pieter Everaers, in Sarajevo on Thursday.
Everaers, who also heads an international observer mission whose task was to monitor the preparation and conduct the first population census in Bosnia and Herzegovina after its 1992-1995 war, had arrived in Sarajevo to mediate in efforts to resolve problems arising from a dispute over who was actually resident in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the census.
Under international statistical criteria, the main criterion is the length of residence in the place of the census, but the Serb entity of Republika Srpska demands that resident status be defined by the place of work or education. This demand is aimed at removing from the census most of the war refugees who have still not regulated their status in full because, for example, their homes have been only partly rebuilt and are not fit for living.
Everaers called on the representatives of the state and entity statistics agencies to reach an agreement on this in accordance with international standards and to do so within the next three weeks, in which case the census results could be published in June, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Statistics Agency said in a statement.
The census data are a key requirement for Bosnia and Herzegovina to fill in a questionnaire from Brussels after it applies for EU membership candidate status, which is expected on February 15.
Although the census was conducted two and a half years ago, only preliminary results on the number of inhabitants have been released to date. According to those figures, in October 2013 the country had a population of 3.791 million.