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Summary: September 21, 2001: Informal translation of EU-intervention. The Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (New York)
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the associated countries of Cyprus, Malta and Turkey and the EFTA countries belonging to the European Economic Area Iceland and Liechtenstein, align themselves with this statement.
I should first of all like to thank the High Representative, Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, and the Special representative and the Secretary-General and chief of the UNMIBH, Mr. Jaques Klein, for their detailed statement on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and reaffirm that they have the European Union's support for their efforts to implement the Dayton and Paris Agreements.
The European Union warmly welcomed the adoption of an Electoral Law by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 23 August. Electoral law is a basic ingredient of any democratic State or society. It marks the beginning of a new phase in re-defining Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent, multi-ethnic State. Moreover, its adoption constitutes a step in the direction of Bosnia and Herzegovina's accession to the Council of Europe as well as in the direction of the European institutions, within the spirit of the Road Map laid out at the Zagreb Summit in November 2000.
The European Union likewise welcomes the progress towards regional economic integration represented by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on trade liberalization by the Ministers for International Trade of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria. We hope that implementation and further development of the agreement will make for a considerable improvement in the economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which remains unsatisfactory. We are particularly alarmed by the 40% unemployment rate, which is a cause for more than mere disquiet.
In this connection, we remain convinced that the economic situation can be improved by pursuing the aims set out in the EU Road Map and urge the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to take the necessary legislative measures to that end. It is a matter of considerable regret that only 7 of the 18 points contained in the Road Map have been implemented to date.
We are deeply disappointed by the recent changes to the draft Civil Service Law. In our view, it is now quite out of keeping with the original objective, which was to set up an efficient, merit-based civil service. We consider that, as the legislation stands at present, all the international community's efforts to establish an efficient and de-politicized civil service in Bosnia and Herzegovina have come to naught.
On the refugee question, we welcome the fact that the number of people from minority groups who are returning to the country is up on last year and urge the High Representative to continue his campaign to raise the awareness of international, national and local institutions in order to step up their cooperation in this regard. We welcome all the initiatives, both national and regional, which have been taken to help refugees return to the region.
The European Union has often stated how much importance it attaches to cooperation with the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia. We welcome the draft legislation of the Republika Srpska on cooperation with the Court, in that it will genuinely facilitate cooperation and send a clear message to the public that the Serb authorities will meet their obligations.
Concerning the future of the presence of the International Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Union appreciates and supports the all-encompassing approach taken by the High Representative to recalibrating the current civilian implementation structure in the field. We now expect the High Representative to present a further elaborated action plan in collaboration with the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Nations and the International Community.
The recent developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina provide an incentive to press ahead. Accordingly, the European Union strongly urges the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue with implementation of the EU Road Map. We should like to stress once again that responsible political management, combined with a total and immediate commitment to implement institutional, legal and economic reforms in full, are essential prerequisites for speedy integration into European Union structures.
Thank you, Mr. President.