Bosnia must reform its constitution and hold a census before becoming a candidate for European Union membership, the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo today.
“We are in favour of constitution evolution which can be done and must be done in full respect of Dayton Peace Agreement,” Rehn told reporters following a meeting with the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic.
“It is important that the country will be able to speak with one voice as a future candidate country of the European Union,” he stressed referring to a longstanding gridlock among Bosnia’s main political parties over adopting constitutional reforms and strengthening central institutions.
“If I were to see nightmares I will see nightmares of Bosnia blocking the decision making in the EU because of its own political stalemates, because of a dysfunctional state structure,” Rehn said.
He slammed local politicians over the current stalemate in reform process which is “hurting the country’s progress towards EU” and the use of nationalistic rhetoric in the buildup to last Sunday’s local elections.
The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic protested that EU policy apportioned equal blame to all political leaders in Bosnia.
“Such an attitude towards Bosnia is my own nightmare,” President Silajdzic told Rehn at a joint news conference. “This must stop because it does not help.”
“Tell us who is failing to do things here — it is the right time to say it,” said President Silajdzic, accusing political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia of being the main obstructionist force.
“This neutral attitude does not help because it is not neutral — it helps those who are keeping Bosnia on hold. There can be no neutral attitude – we are dealing with a very serious situation here,” President Silajdzic said.
Rehn declined to respond to calls to name obstructionists, saying the European Commission policy was not “to participate in domestic politics by blaming different parties”.
“What matters for us is that the legal, democratic and economic criteria of EU membership are met … As regards the consequences, it is up to the people of the country to make political conclusions,” Rehn kept avoiding to answer directly to remarks made by President Silajdzic.
Bosnia signed in June a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union, seen as the first step towards EU membership.
Rehn also said that Bosnia has to conduct a census in 2011 as the EU needs clear data in order to formulate policies for Bosnia.
However,Bosnian politicians warn that it would cement the results of the genocide against the Bosnian people committed by the genocidal Serbian fascist savages during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.