EU in BiH on the decision by the High Representative to amend the BiH Election Law and the Constitution of the Federation of BiH

The EU in Bosnia and Herzegovina takes note of High Representative Schmidt’s decision to amend the Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity (FBiH) and the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). This was a decision of the High Representative alone. The executive powers of the High Representative (Bonn Powers) should be used solely as a measure of last resort against irreparable unlawful acts.

Strengthening the functionality of BiH’s institutions is a key priority for the country’s path to the EU. Over the course of almost a year, the EU and United States facilitated discussions on constitutional and electoral reform. We deeply regret that it was not possible for political parties to agree on a balanced and negotiated package of reforms that would comprehensively address unresolved issues, including those related to functionality of the FBiH and its House of Peoples.

Constitutional reform, as required by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and Venice Commission in relation to the BiH Presidency and BiH House of Peoples remains an urgent and unfulfilled task. Equally, OSCE, ODIHR and GRECO recommendations in relation to the transparency and integrity of elections remain outstanding. The leaders of BiH political parties agreed in Brussels on 12 June to address this question within six months after the formation of new authorities. We urge them to honour this commitment.

The European Council recently stated that it stands ready to recognise Bosnia and Herzegovina as a candidate country and invited the Commission to report on the implementation of the 14 Key Priorities. Following today’s elections, the EU trusts that all political actors will work together to ensure the swift formation of legislative and government authorities at all levels. The EU expects newly elected officials to take full responsibility for ambitious reforms that advance the interests of citizens as well as the country’s further progress on the European path in line with the Commission Opinion’s 14 Key Priorities.