Bosnia must step up reforms for EU readiness

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford is urging Bosnia & Herzegovina to make the necessary reforms to put them on the path to EU membership.

These reforms need to cover political and constitutional matters as well as economic and social issues. Until last month the country had not had a stable government for 16 months because of deadlock between Serb Croat and Muslim leaders.

Speaking ahead of a European Parliament debate and resolution tomorrow Sarah Ludford commented:

"The establishment at last of a government is a positive step. But it faces a huge challenge to guarantee security and economic opportunities for all. The essential foundation - still lacking under the Dayton setup - is a functional administration under the rule of law with an independent and effective judiciary. BiH also needs to deal with the past by ending discrimination and segregation and tackling the backlog of war crime cases."

"The ALDE group is urging not only judicial reforms but also constitutional reforms at both State and entity levels. We are calling for the EU to initiate in cooperation with the Council of Europe and based on wide consultation in BiH an international conference on the future constitutional and political structure of Bosnia & Herzegovina as a basis for economic recovery."

"A brighter future beckons for a stable Balkan region in the EU. I was delighted 18 months ago to help deliver visa-free travel for Bosnian citizens to assist integration in Europe. But only BiH can do the heavy lifting necessary for reaching the heart of the EU."

Notes to Editors

The resolution can be seen here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-0129&language=EN

Sarah Ludford's comment on the European Commission's progress report on BiH last October can be seen here: http://sarahludfordmep.org.uk/en/article/2011/523876/faster-progress-needed-for-an-eu-ready-bosnia

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