EU hails Bosnia reform pledge

GMT 21:05 2015 Monday ,23 February

Arab Today, arab today EU hails Bosnia reform pledge

German Foreign Minister (L)
Sarajevo - AFP

Bosnian lawmakers backed a pledge Monday to make a series of political and economic reforms intended to kickstart its application for European Union membership.
Brussels was demanding the pledge before the Balkan nation's effort to join the 28-nation bloc, which has been blocked for years by political disputes, can progress.
"This parliament took an important decision, I would say an historic decision," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told Bosnian lawmakers.
"This is the decision on behalf of many in Bosnia-Hercegovina who (want) the country to move forward on its path towards the European Union," she said.
Disputes between politicians representing the country's three main ethnic groups -- Croats, Muslims and Serbs -- have blocked key economic and social reforms.
The delay has left Bosnia lagging behind other Balkan states on the path to EU membership. It is the only country in the region that has yet to officially apply for the status of a EU candidate country.
The declaration adopted on Monday foresees a fast establishment of a "coordination mechanism" that would allow the ethnically-divided country to speak in a single voice in its talks with Brussels and to attract EU funds.
Furthermore, a series of economic reforms were also put on the agenda that are intended to pave the way for economic growth and job creation.
Brussels last year adopted a new initiative aimed at accelerating reforms in Bosnia.
The plan delays difficult constitutional changes that have led to political stalemate and inter-ethnic disputes in favour of focusing on reforms needed for Bosnia's EU application.
Bosnia, which saw bloody inter-ethnic conflict in the 1990s that claimed about 100,000 lives, is one of Europe's poorest countries.
It has an unemployment rate of over 40 percent among its nearly four million people.
A year ago mass protests broke out against the government's failure to fight graft and enact EU-sought reforms.


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