Tuesday

6th Dec 2016

EU and US criticise Bosnian rejection of constitutional reforms

The rejection of a key US and EU-backed constitutional reform by Bosnian parliamentarians has sparked criticism by the international community.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's lower house on late Wednesday (26 April) failed to reach the two-third majority needed to pass the amendments which would strengthen central government, seen as crucial for the country to join the EU and NATO.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina was backed by the EU (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

A majority of 28 votes was needed to adopt the draft changes, but only 26 members of the 42-seat chamber voted in favour.

The amendments were rejected after a two-day heated debate due to opposition by Croat members of the HDZ 1990 party and the Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina, led by a former Bosnian foreign minster, Haris Silajdzic.

They argued that the changes reinforced the division of the country into two entities and retained mechanisms of voting on the basis of various nationalities.

The bill was supposed to change the ethnic government system, set up by the Dayton peace agreement which ended Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

Under that agreement, the country consists of two highly-autonomous regions - the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serb Republic.

The constitutional reform would shift some of their powers to the central government.

"The results of last night's voting sends a negative message to Europe, the United States and the entire international community," said Christian Schwarz Schilling, the international envoy to Bosnia and Herzegovina, AKI agency reported.

The bill was meant to be hammered out before the October elections, so the parliament's failure to adopt it will just mean a waste of time, according to Mr Schwarz Schilling.

"It is an issue which we will have to ponder again, so that Bosnia-Herzegovina could better prepare for integration into the EU and the government can better serve its citizens," he is reported as saying.

US ambassador to Bosnia Douglas McElhaney also argued, "I do not see any other alternative to these amendments."

Commission won't call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a "hero for many" is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn't reflect its position.

News in Brief

  1. Idea of road transport agency gains momentum among MEPs
  2. EU dismisses euro crisis risk after Italian referendum
  3. Italy result poses no risk to the EU, Sapin says
  4. EU asked to clarify links to Iran executions
  5. Italian economy minister tipped as caretaker PM
  6. EU tells US tech giants to act faster against hate speech
  7. Iceland's Pirates in bid to form government
  8. Danes are the happiest workers, study says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  2. CESICESI Congress Focuses on Future of Work, Public Services and Digitalisation
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  4. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  5. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  6. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  7. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  8. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  9. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  10. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  11. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)