EU urged to help Bosnia on “unfinished business”

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union must offer further political and financial support to Bosnia during a difficult reform period to come, Bosnia’s top peace envoy said on Tuesday, warning of “unfinished business.”

“Bosnia must not get off our radar screens. There were developments in Kosovo and election in Serbia, but Bosnia is still an unfinished business, an unfinished responsibility for the international community,” Miroslav Lajcak told Reuters.

Lajcak, Bosnia’s international peace overseer and EU special representative, said the security situation in the tiny multi-ethnic Balkan state was now stable but that the challenges ahead were political.

“One issue of strategic importance for Bosnia-Herzegovina is the issue of constitutional changes. It is on the agenda but there is no united approach among the local players, nor within the international community,” he said during a trip to Brussels.

“Without addressing these issues it’s difficult to expect that Bosnia-Herzegovina will be moving forward,” he added.

Bosnia’s two autonomous regions, the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serb Republic, have coexisted in an uneasy alliance since the end of the 1992-95 war.

Efforts to revamp the constitution have already been continuing for two years and could take as many more. A key reform of the state’s police will not be fully implemented until constitutional changes have been agreed.

Bosnia signed a pact with the European Union in June that is the first step towards eventual membership off the 27-nation bloc, nearly 13 years after the end of its civil war.

Lajcak also urged the EU to rapidly define how it plans to help Bosnia, and to help — including with financial support — to create a “critical pro-European mass within the society”.

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