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Photograph: Photo by www.GlynLowe.com, used under CC BY

European Union High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn on Monday welcomed an agreement to set up a coordination mechanism in relations between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina, reached by the chairman of the Bosnian Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, and the president of the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik.

A joint statement by Mogherini and Hahn, released by the EU delegation in Sarajevo, says that the agreement on the coordination mechanism reached this weekend in Bosnia and Herzegovina "further demonstrated its commitment to the EU integration path of the country."

The agreement was criticised by the HDZ BiH and the leading opposition party in the RS Serb entity, however Brussels is of the opinion that there is nothing bad in the agreement because the coordination mechanism aims at "improving the country's policy coordination and implementation, including as regards EU financial assistance as well as ensuring better interaction with the EU."

Mogherini and Hahn consider that it is important that Bosnia and Herzegovina proceed with an IMF programme set at providing a long-term loan worth 550 million euros and that that will ensure crucial support for the implementation of the Reform Agenda.

The Croatian member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Dragan Covic, in particular criticised the Izetbegovic-Dodik agreement. He said  that he had no idea that the Bosniak and Serb leaders had met and that it was unacceptable for the coordination mechanism, which excludes the participation of cantons within the Federation, to be adopted.

Izetbegovic responded to criticism on Monday stating that Covic's claims were incorrect and that cantons had not been excluded from participating in the decision-making process that were crucial for European integration.

"Instead of welcoming the agreement he unnecessarily created a problem over that," Izetbegovic said as quoted by Fena, the news agency of the Bosniak-Croat entity known as the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Izetbegovic further accused Covic of complicating matters in the country when in February he rushed to submit the country's application to the EU for candidate status even though all the benchmarks had not been met. "We are now working on resolving all the problems that subsequently emerged," Izetbegovic said.

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