Christian Schmidt .jpg
Photograph: Photo by Metropolico.org, used under CC BY-SA

The World Bank will release an independent assessment of the possible impact of customs-free imports from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina and an agreement about it will enable all levels of the authorities in Bosnia to accept the adjustment of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union and thus unblock the country's path to the EU, German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said in Sarajevo on Wednesday.

Schmidt arrived in Sarajevo, instructed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is trying to mediate in conflicts between Bosnia and Herzegovina politicians regarding the adjustment of the part of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU referring to trade, which is a condition for Sarajevo to be granted the EU candidate status.

During a visit of  members of Bosnia's collective presidency to Berlin on 30 June, Merkel confirmed her government's commitment to assisting Bosnia on its European journey by compensating for damage Bosnia's farming sector cold possible suffer over increased imports from the EU and Schmidt confirmed his visit was delivering on that promise.

The authorities in the Bosnian Serb entity are objecting to changes which would result in opening Bosnia's market to limited customs-free imports of food and farming produce from Croatia, claiming that farmers from that entity would suffer losses greater than EUR 100 million.

More realistic assessments show that farmers in Bosnia would not suffer losses greater than EUR 30 million, on which the German minister insisted on Wednesday.

Schmidt discussed this matter with the chairman of the Bosnian presidency, Bakic Izetbegovic, Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic, representatives of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik.

The goal was to make decisions on the ways of support so as to unblock processes, Schmidt said adding that unblocking Bosnia's EU path would be confirmed on 18 July in Brussels.

Chancellor Merkel said Germany wanted to to get more involved in the process of Bosnia's drawing closer to European associations, Schmidt said adding that concrete decisions about accepting the adjustment could be expected next week.

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