Summary: 21 March 2011, Brussels - Council of the European Union 3076th FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council meeting conclusions on Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"1. The Council reiterates its unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU perspective, as agreed at the 2003 Thessaloniki European Council. The EU will continue to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in this regard, including through a strengthened presence. The Council reaffirms its unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a sovereign and united country.
2. The Council believes that anchoring the EU agenda at the core of the political process in Bosnia and Herzegovina and addressing the political criteria are essential for progress. The Council expresses its deep concern that governments have not yet been formed at every level in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It calls on the political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to engage responsibly and in a spirit of compromise to achieve as soon as possible the formation of governments at every level in order to address the outstanding urgent and necessary reforms to achieve qualitative steps forward on its path towards the EU.
3. The Council emphasises, while referring to Council conclusions of 14 December 2010, that as a matter of priority, the country needs to bring the Constitution into compliance with the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). A credible effort in this regard is key to fulfil the country's obligations under the Interim/Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The adoption of a State Aid Law at state level is a further obligation stemming from the IA/SAA. In addition, the adoption of a state level census law and speeding up reforms are important elements of the country's EU integration process. Progress in addressing these issues would demonstrate the commitment of the authorities and the political parties to the EU integration process. A satisfactory track record in implementing obligations under the SAA/IA would be a key element for a credible membership application to be considered by the EU.
The Council stresses the importance of improving and strengthening the efficient functioning of the state and the institutions, including through necessary constitutional changes. In particular, the country will need to be in a position to adopt, implement and enforce laws and rules of the EU.
4. The EU is finalising the preparations to establish a reinforced, single EU Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina who will take a lead in supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina on EU related matters. It will take these steps in coordination with the broader international community. The single EU representative will have a broad and balanced set of instruments to maximise the incentives provided by the EU, in line with established procedures. These will include continued political facilitation on issues related to the EU integration process, IPA financing and the monitoring and support of reform progress through bodies established by the SAA/IA.
5. The Council also remains determined to support the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement and supports the proposals from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the possible use of restrictive measures. The Council underlines the EU's CSDP missions, namely the EU Police Mission and EUFOR Operation Althea, as important elements of its overall strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Council reiterates its agreement to keep these missions under regular review, including on the basis of the situation on the ground, with a view to assessing in the future EU engagement in this area.
6. The Council reaffirms its full support for the current HR/EUSR Valentin Inzko. The Council calls on Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet the outstanding objectives and conditions which remain necessary for the closure of the OHR. In the framework of the EU's overall strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the effective establishment of the reinforced EU presence, the Council looks forward to discussions of the international community on the reconfiguration of the international presence, including consideration of the possible relocation of the OHR."