EU Statement on recent developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina

As delivered at the 1471st Permanent Council, 2 May 2024

  1. The European Union deeply deplores that on 19th April the Republika Srpska National Assembly adopted three pieces of legislation, on elections, referenda and immunity, which undermine the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the functionality of its institutions, and go against BiH’s commitments on its EU path. In this context, we welcome the timely joint statement issued by Malta’s CiO Foreign Minister Borg and OSCE Secretary-General Schmid on the same day. Furthermore, regarding the draft law labelling civil society groups as ‘foreign agents’, the EU restates its position expressed in the Council Conclusions on Enlargement of 12 December 2023.


  1. The EU emphasises that the sovereignty, territorial integrity, constitutional order, including Constitutional Court decisions, and international personality of BiH must be respected. Any action against these principles will lead to serious consequences.


  1. The EU has expressed a strong preference for the BiH Parliament to assume its responsibility and adopt the necessary reforms, ensuring that elections are conducted in line with European standards by implementing the OSCE/ODIHR and relevant Venice Commission recommendations, and ensure the transparency of political party financing. The EU expects that BiH authorities implement these reforms, as state coalition leaders committed to do, in time for implementation during the October municipal elections. 


  1. The EU encourages the OSCE Mission to BiH to continue its valuable work, as well its flexible and tailor-made engagement in cooperation and coordination with other relevant international stakeholders, and to pursue its efforts towards peace, trust building and reconciliation. We urge all political actors in BiH to refrain from and renounce provocative divisive rhetoric and actions, to end the glorification of convicted war criminals, as well as to actively promote reconciliation, based on promoting respect for and solidarity with all victims regardless of their ethnicity and religious belief.


  1. We reiterate the EU’s unequivocal commitment to BiH’s EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country, and reaffirm the EU’s commitment to continue working with BiH authorities to advance on the European path. The decision of the European Council on 22nd March 2024 on opening accession negotiations proved that dialogue instead of escalation delivers results for BiH. We therefore call on all leaders in BiH to live up to their commitments for the benefit of the people in the country and its future within the European Union.