Enlargement

  • Years after the end of the war, Bosnian ethnicities remain at loggerheads (Photo: EUPM)

Bosnia forms government in hope of EU candidate status

29.12.11 @ 09:00

  1. By Leigh Phillips

BRUSSELS - Bosnia’s feuding political factions have backed a new administration for the ethnically divided state, breaking an impasse that has lasted more than a year.

Political leaders from all sides hope that the development will ease the country’s path to EU accession candidate status in the new year.

A close election result in 2010 produced a Belgium-like political stalemate that only on Wednesday after hours of talks was resolved when Bosnia’s Muslim, Serb and Croat leaders agreed to a deal endorsing a budget for 2011 and a financial framework for the next two years.

For the past 12 months, government bodies have been financed via ad hoc funding mechanisms.

The deal will also see a Bosnia Croat, Dragan Covic, take up the premiership of the state and a Bosnian Muslim in the post of foreign minister.

The agreement will also see the new government oversee a fresh census - long a political hot potato in the region - and new laws on the distribution of public funds, both of which were moves Brussels demanded ahead of giving the green light to status as a candidate for membership of the EU.

Both the EU and the United States have applied heavy pressure to political groups to achieve consensus, with the International Monetary Fund and Brussels withholding $100 million in aid as a result of the deadlock.

Political leaders hope that the agreement will see both a release of the much-needed funds and a strong signal from the EU that Sarajevo may one day join the bloc.

“It is important that we reached a political agreement,” said Milorad Dodik, leader of the Bosnian Serbs, “so that Bosnia can apply for candidate status of the European Union.”

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