The UE will help develop and consolidate Bosnia Herzegovina [fr]
Debate on the situation of Bosnia-Herzegovina - Intervention by M. Philippe Bertoux, Political adviser for the Permanent mission of France to the United Nations- Security Council - 5 May 2016
I thank the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina for his comprehensive briefing on the situation and for his work. France aligns itself with the statement to be made by the observer of the European Union.
France welcomes the fact that the European perspective today serves as the main engine for the development and consolidation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Its recent application to join the European Union reflects the overwhelming support of that perspective within the Bosnian population, as well as the unanimity that exists around this topic within the collegial Presidency of the country. The Council noted these developments that in resolution 2247 (2015), the most recent resolution on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was adopted unanimously on 10 November.
In that context, the European Union will continue now more than ever to support the Bosnian and Herzegovina authorities in the implementation of reforms that meet the economic and social aspirations of the population. The reform agenda adopted last year is crucial to that end. We welcome the fact that it has already produced initial concrete results, such as the adoption of new labour legislation at the entity level.
Nonetheless, the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities must bear in mind that their candidacy is only the beginning of a long and demanding process that will require efforts at the central State and entity levels. It is especially important that a fully operational European coordination mechanism be set up as soon as possible, that significant progress be achieved in the implementation of the reform agenda and the Stabilization and Association Agreement, and that the country advance towards a judicial system that is fully independent, impartial and effective.
More than 20 years after their signing, the Dayton-Paris Peace Accords remain the cornerstone of stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will be up to the Bosnians themselves to ensure that, when the time is right, their institutions evolve.
At a time when the country is facing elections, we call on all political forces to set aside divisive rhetoric that is as outdated as it is dangerous in favour of the construction of the future. Local campaigns should not pit one side against the other on the basis of hatred and rancour, but should lead to constructive discussion of political projects. Faced with mass unemployment, Bosnians deserve that priority be given to the economic development of the territories.
All Bosnians deserve the right to express themselves democratically in free and fair elections. As such, we remain concerned about the situation of the city of Mostar. Indeed, due to the lack of consensus between political forces, its inhabitants have been deprived of their most basic civil rights at the local level for nearly eight years. To accept such a status quo would be irresponsible. However, the only viable solution will be one that creates a consensus among local players. France therefore calls upon those local players to do their all to ensure that elections can be held this year, in respect for the principles reaffirmed by the Peace Implementation Council’s communiqué of 2 December 2015.
We note with satisfaction the statements issued by the Republika Srpska authorities on the indefinite postponement of the referendum project, which could have challenged the competence of the central State in the judicial field. Whether it refers to the functioning of judicial institutions or public holidays, compromise solutions must be found. That is in the interest of everyone.Today, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite its weaknesses, seems to be moving in the right direction of normalization. While there is no imminent risk of destabilization, the presence of the international community remains necessary at this stage.
Its framework of reference remains, of course, the Dayton-Paris Peace Accords. We therefore call on all parties to cooperate with the institutions mentioned in the Peace Accords, notably the High Representative and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The absence of manipulation and respect for the rulings of the Tribunal are crucial in order to prevent the revival of dangerous intercommunal tensions. We call on everyone to bear their responsibilities.Our goal for the coming years remains, without undermining the fundamental principles of the Dayton-Paris Peace Accords, the fully adapt the international presence to current realities on the ground. The consideration of the reconfiguration of the Office of the High Representative should therefore continue
In the 20 years after experiencing the horror of war, Bosnia and Herzegovina is today advancing in the right direction, with the support of the European Union and its other partners.
The responsibility of the international community, including the Council, is to encourage it to continue along that path.