6th EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina Subcommittee meeting on Transport, Energy, Environment and Regional Development

The 6h Subcommittee meeting on Transport, Energy, Environment and regional development between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina took place on 20 May 2021. Representatives from the European Commission (Commission) discussed with relevant Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) authorities the most recent developments in these areas. The meeting was co-chaired for the EU by Ms Mary Teresa Moran (Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission) and by Mr. Mirza Hujić (Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH).

The Commission welcomed the progress achieved by BiH in some areas and encouraged the country to continue with the necessary reforms and the development of countrywide sector strategies and legislation. In all sectors, the Commission urged BiH to develop a countrywide harmonised approach.

On environment, the priority should be the implementation of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans adopted in Sofia in November 2021. The Commission urged BiH to strengthen efforts to move towards a circular, climate-neutral, resource efficient and competitive economy. Key to this is to urgently start implementing the countrywide BiH Environmental Approximation Strategy based on a single integrated plan for BiH and proceed with the development of a countrywide BiH Environmental Protection Strategy. Full implementation of horizontal legislation (environmental assessments), also in international context, and harmonised alignment with water and waste management acquis, combatting and monitoring air pollution as well as fostering biodiversity, all in a countrywide harmonised manner, are of particular importance. The Commission welcomed the fact that BiH joined the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) in September 2022. As a participating state of the UCPM, BiH should actively participate in the activities under the Mechanism and fulfil its obligations, including fulfilling all the necessary preconditions to enable successful implementation of the 112 European single emergency number.

As regards climate change, the Commission urged BiH to prioritise transposition of the Governance Regulation, as well as transposition of MRV legislation and the EU Emissions Trading System. As BiH has committed itself to reaching climate neutrality by 2050, the Commission urged it to implement the adopted Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), further aligned with the EU’s climate neutrality goal in line with the Paris Agreement. The country needs to focus on phasing out coal to proceed with decarbonisation and green transition. It is also extremely important that BiH increases its administrative capacity in the field of climate action.

On regional development, the Commission underlined again the need to develop the countrywide Regional Development Strategy and fight growing imbalances between administrative levels. BiH needs to strengthen its administrative capacities in terms of programming, implementation and evaluation of EU funds.

As regards energy, the Commission acknowledged some steps forward but reiterated that there is a wide gap between entities and their respective energy frameworks, which creates a complex and diverting energy market structure. The Commission therefore called upon BiH to proceed with developing its integrated National Energy and Climate Plan in consultation with all relevant stakeholders. Particularly urgent as holding the Presidency of the Energy Community during the next year, BiH needs to rectify all identified violations of the EU and Energy Community Treaty acquis.

On transport, the Commission encouraged BiH to engage more in the context of the Transport Community Treaty, and to deliver on the obligations contained therein. The Commission reiterated the need to establish a lead Road Safety Agency and fully implement the actions set out in the Road Safety regional action plan. On rail transport, the Commission acknowledged BiH’s adoption of several rulebooks in the two entities and encouraged BiH to progress with the reform and modernisation of the railway sector through the transposition of the EU rail acquis, including the 4th Railway Package. On air transport, the Commission reiterated its request that Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to address the persistent problem of understaffing in the civil aviation regulator, and in particular in the air navigation services provider, to avoid the risk of safety oversight problems.