european_parliament- europski parlament.jpg
Photograph: freeimages.com/till_achinger

The European Parliament's rapporteur onr Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cristian Dan Preda, has accused Bosnian Serb authorities of obstructing the country's progress on the path to EU membership, saying that he was utterly disappointed with the latest developments in the country, the Sarajevo-based Dnevni Avaz daily reported on Monday.

We are witnessing something that could, without a doubt, jeopardise Bosnia and Herzegovina's chances of obtaining EU candidate status, Preda said.

His reaction came after representatives of Bosnian Serb authorities on Sunday confirmed their opposition to amendments to a provisional trade agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union, which were to have opened Bosnia and Herzegovina's market to customs-free imports of farm and food products from Croatia, a privilege imports from other EU member-countries have enjoyed for a long time.

The agreed adjustments of the agreement would have given producers in Bosnia and Herzegovina a possibility of increased food exports to EU countries, however, the Bosnian Serb authorities insist the agreement would only cause damage to local farmers in the amount of up to EUR 100 million annually.

Preda said the provisional trade agreement was not the only problem and that problematic was also the fact that almost any task that had to be carried out in order to continue the process of integration with the EU was being endlessly politicised and complicated, and he pointed the finger at the Bosnian Serb authorities.

First we are told that there is agreement on a coordination mechanism, on the publication of the census results, and on the adjustment of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, and then Republika Srpska challenges that and acts contrary to the integration process. There can be no progress in reforms, especially not in the European integration process, if there is a threat of blockade at every step of the way, said Preda.

The situation on the ground proves that politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina only pay lip service to integration with the EU and actually cheat their own people, he warned.

Preda's strong-worded warning comes after it has become evident that due to internal political games and obstruction the country will lose the chance of launching this summer a procedure that would eventually result in its being granted EU candidate status in 2017.

The President of the Serb entity of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, said in Banja Luka on Sunday that the entity wanted new talks with the EU on the adjustment of the provisional trade agreement because it did not accept the already agreed adjustments.

He also said that Croatia would not be given any concessions that required the consent of the Serb entity until the construction of a bridge over the Sava River at Gradiska was launched.

Dodik said the project, which the Serb entity considers vital for its transport infrastructure as the bridge would connect a highway running from Banja Luka towards the Sava River with the Zagreb-Lipovac highway, had been obstructed by Croatia for years.

In a message to his political partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dodik said that he would not conduct with them any talks until the issue of processing and publishing results of the 2013 census was settled.

The Bosnian Serb authorities insist on removing from the census 196,000 persons, mostly Bosniaks (Muslims) from the Serb entity, who they believe did not provide sufficient information to have their status of permanent residents in that entity recognised.

Latest news

19-year-old men arrested for putting up anti-Serb stickers in Vukovar, minister condemns incident

Police have arrested a 19-year-old man, suspected of putting up anti-Serb stickers reading  "Serbian Family Tree" with an image of people hanging from a tree and the face of Ante Pavelic, Croatian fascist dictator who led the World War II Ustasha movement and the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), at bus stops along Trpinjska Street in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar.

Britain faces highest terrorism threat since 1970s, official says

Britain faces its highest threat of terrorism since the 1970s, when the Irish Republican Army planned a series of bomb attacks, a legal official said on Sunday.

Monitor: Syrian regime forces killed in fighting near Lebanon border

Dozens of Syrian regime troops were killed and injured in an attack on Sunday by hardline jihadists led by an al-Qaeda-linked group near the Lebanese border, a monitor said.

Anarchist riots hit central Athens district

Clashes broke out between Greek police and self-styled anarchists in a central Athens neighbourhood early Sunday.

Thousands more affected by noise under Berlin flight route change

Thousands more residents in Berlin could be affected by aircraft noise due to changes in a flight route to a long-delayed new international airport.

Details emerge on Heidelberg car-ramming as police seek motive

The car used to ram into crowds in the south-western German town of Heidelberg was rented in Hamburg, police said Sunday, as they continued to search for a motive for the incident.

Fire at asylum seeker accommodation in Sweden

A fire overnight at an accommodation centre for asylum seekers in Sweden caused injuries to at least a dozen residents, police said on Sunday.

Analysts: Croatia's economy rises 3.3%, hitting new high since 2008

Croatia's economy expanded 3.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2016, compared to Q4 2015, according to projections of economic analysts polled by Hina, who ascribe this record high rise to increasing personal consumption, higher industrial output rates and growing investments.

Fate of German hostage in Philippines unknown as deadline passes

The fate of a 70-year-old German man held captive for three months in the southern Philippines was unknown after a deadline for a ransom to be paid passed Sunday, a military spokesman said.

Dengue fever risk growing in Thailand, authorities say

Dengue fever is posing a greater threat in Thailand, particularly in the southern region, the country's Disease Control Department said Sunday, as the number of people killed by the mosquito-borne disease this year stands at six.

Brexit fears plague locals and expats alike in southern Spain

As Britain's departure from the EU approaches, the anxiety is most palpable on Spain's Costa del Sol, where so many Britons live. What will happen to the economy if the expats one day have to leave?

'La La Land,' politics to share spotlight at Oscars

The Oscars will take the stage Sunday for an awards ceremony whose outcome feels like a foregone conclusion - a win, or 10, for "La La Land."