BiH: Statement by High Representative Josep Borrell on the elections

The European Union welcomes the holding of general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday. Ensuring that elections are conducted in line with European standards is a key priority set out in the Commission Opinion on the EU membership application of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to the preliminary findings and conclusions of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission, the elections were overall competitive and well organised, but marked by mistrust of citizens in public institutions and ethnically divisive rhetoric.

The EU encourages the relevant authorities to address allegations of irregularities in order to ensure the highest confidence in the election results and the election administration.

Citizens of BiH exercised their democratic right to vote for the authorities, who will now have the responsibility to deliver on the people’s aspirations, including on EU integration and economic prosperity and coping with the negative global impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

The EU takes note of the decision of High Representative for BiH Christian Schmidt to amend the Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the election day. We recall that his executive powers should be used solely as a measure of last resort against irreparable unlawful acts.

Following the verification of results of the elections, the EU expects all political actors to take full responsibility and cooperate to swiftly set up functioning legislatures and governments at State, entity and cantonal levels to focus on reforms on the EU path, to which BiH’s party leaders committed in Brussels on 12 June, including constitutional and electoral reform. To this end, the EU calls for a spirit of cooperation among Bosnia and Herzegovina’s newly elected leaders.

On 23 June the European Council stated that it stands ready to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina and (to that aim it) invited the Commission to report on the implementation of the 14 key priorities with special attention to those which constitute a substantial set of reforms.

The EU reiterates its unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country.