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BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA

 
  
  

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,963 5,249 4,800 104
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,540 1,270 1,240 123
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
51,129

Population
4,007,608

Capital
Sarajevo

Currency
Convertible Mark 

President 
Borislav Paravac



Update No: 110 - (27/07/06)

Most Bosnians Support EU Accession 
Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Council of Europe in April 2002. In October 2005, the country and the European Union (EU) signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA)-the first step towards full membership.
Many adults in Bosnia and Herzegovina want their country to become a member of the EU, according to a poll by GfK. 83 per cent of respondents would vote in favour of accession in a referendum.
Large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina were ravaged during the Balkan conflict of the early 1990s, and the country's economy still depends heavily on foreign aid. The 1995 Dayton Peace Accord that brought an end to the war established two states: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a majority Bosniak-Croat population and the Serb dominated Republika Srpska. 
The remnants of the Yugoslav Federation were transformed into Serbia and Montenegro in February 2003. On May 21, Montenegro voted to establish "an independent state with full international and legal subjectivity" in a referendum. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina will elect three presidents-meant to encompass the country's ethnic diversity-and renew their House of Representatives on Oct. 1.

Bosnian peace overseer post to close in mid-2007
Bosnia's powerful international peace overseer said on July 21 his U.N.-mandated post will shut down in June 2007; but he declined to say whether he would retain interventionist powers beyond that date. Veteran German diplomat Christian Schwarz-Schilling, who is the fifth High Representative enforcing the 1995 Dayton peace treaty, said he would continue working beyond next June in his lower-profile role as European Union Special Representative. 
Schwarz-Schilling said upon his appointment in February that one of his priorities was to phase out the post -- whose wide powers his predecessors used often to sack officials and impose laws -- and to hand full responsibility to the Bosnians. 
Bosnia has gone a long way in rebuilding itself after wartime destruction and it hopes to establish closer ties with the European Union in early 2007. 
But any further progress on its way to eventual EU membership would be blocked if it still needed an outsider to arbitrate between its Muslim, Serb and Croat ethnic groups. 
"The nature of the international community's involvement in Bosnia must change as the country moves from peace implementation to Euro-Atlantic integration," Schwarz-Schilling said after a meeting of the international body overseeing the peace process.
He said the international community remained fully committed to Bosnia, with the EU keeping its peacekeeping and police missions and NATO acting through its Sarajevo headquarters, while his role would be that of a coordinator and adviser.
He refused to say whether keeping the sweeping powers of his office was an option if Bosnia's political and security situation should deteriorate. A final decision would be taken in around February 2007, February or so," Schwarz-Schilling told reporters. Schwarz-Schilling always said he disliked the wide powers and has used them only once in five months, to amend a law.
But he has also said he would not hesitate to use them if required, in situations such as a possible Bosnian Serb Republic attempt to organise a secession referendum. Calls for the referendum grew after Montenegro's April vote to end a union with Serbia and could become even louder if Serbia's U.N. administered province of Kosovo became an independent state, as expected by the end of this year.

Serbia's Tadic against changing of Balkan borders 
Schwarz-Schilling has an ally here in the position of Serbia itself. Belgrade opposes any secessionist moves by Bosnia's ethnic Serb population just as it opposes independence for Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province, Serb President Boris Tadic said on July 20.
But he refused to say whether Serbia's stance would change if the West gave Kosovo the independence its ethnic Albanian majority demands.
"Serbia does not want the political and economic destruction of Bosnia," he said on a visit to the Bosnian capital. "My principle is not to put in question the survival of existing states both when it comes to Serbia and to Bosnia-Herzegovina."
There is an obvious logic here. "I would not like to draw any parallels between Bosnia and Kosovo," Tadic said. "I do not like to even think about independence for Kosovo." Serbs see Kosovo as the cradle of the nation and strongly oppose independence. The province has been run by the United Nations since NATO's 11-week air war in 1999 drove out Serb forces accused of committing atrocities against civilians while fighting a separatist insurgency. A final decision on its status is expected this year.
As a signatory of Dayton on behalf of the Serb Republic, Serbia has officially never wavered in its support of the accord. The Western powers sponsoring Bosnia's peace process have said a break-up of the country is out of the question.

Bosnia President visits Libya
Libyan leader Moammar Kadhafi on July 23 received in Tripoli President Sulejman Tihic of Bosnia- Herzegovina, who expressed the willingness of the Eastern European country to promote and further strengthen bilateral relations with Libya, which is coming in from the cold even with the West.
Official sources told PANA that President Tihic lauded efforts exerted by the Libyan leader in favour of global security and peace, as well as the establishment of relations based on mutual respect and cooperation between peoples and nations in the world.
The Bosnian President commended the Libyan leader for his support during the civil war, which engulfed Bosnia-Herzegovina. 
One can but hope that, subsequent to all this emollient stuff, Tihic put in a good word for the half dozen Bulgarian nurses accused of spreading HIV among a children's hospital in Lybya, an allegation so absurd that it tells one something about the mentality of anyone able to entertain the charge.
President Tihic invited Col. Kadhafi to visit Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying Bosnians would be very honoured to receive him for his first visit to the region. 

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ENERGY

Bosnia agrees to sell Energopetrol to Hungarian/Croatian MOL-INA team

The government of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation approved a long-delayed plan to sell debt-ridden fuel retailer Energopetrol to a consortium of Hungary's MOL and Croatia's INA. 
The government, pressured by a bank's foreclosure on the retailer's long-overdue loan, said recently it had accepted a draft agreement initialled by MOL, INA and its commission on the sale of the company, which has Bosnia's largest fuel retail network, Reuters News Agency reported. 
The consortium agreed to pay 10.2 million Bosnian marka (US$6.7 million) for the majority stake and 60.2 million marka for servicing debt, including 14.6 million marka in reserves. Energopetrol has 66 service stations. 
The agreement needs a go-ahead from Energopetrol's supervisory board and shareholders' assembly and then needs to be signed by Federation Prime Minister, Ahmet Hadzipasic, the government said in a statement. It did not mention possible dates. 
Under the contract, the MOL/INA consortium would acquire a 67% stake in the retailer, while the government and small shareholders would keep stakes of 22% and 11% respectively over the next three years. 
MOL/INA have also pledged 150 million marka in investment, which would not affect the company's ownership structure, and to cover the company's losses in 2005-2006, the government said. 
The deal is regarded as the biggest sell-off of the year, and officials say they hope it will revive a stalled privatisation process in the Balkan country, which needs foreign investment to speed up economic recovery. 
Bank Austria Creditanstalt announced in May it would foreclose on a 20 million marka loan backed by 20 Energopetrol's service stations and its main office building since the government had failed to complete the deal. 
The bank had blocked Energopetrol's accounts, but it said that it would stop the foreclosure if a deal were reached. 
"Since the deal has been agreed, we expect the bank to unblock our accounts," Nusret Mamic of the Energopetrol's trade union told the Dnevni Avaz newspaper.

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FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Door wide open for Chinese investors in Bosnia-Herzegovina 

Sulejman Tihic, rotating chairman of Bosnia-Herzegovina's three-member presidency, has called on Chinese investors to cash in on the booming bilateral business relations as there is a strong desire in the Balkan country to step up friendly cooperation with China, portalina.it reported. 
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Tihic said, "the door of friendly cooperation is always wide open for China in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and hopefully more Chinese companies will invest in our country." 
Bosnia-Herzegovina has maintained longtime cooperation with China, said Tihic, adding that there are no pending problems between the two countries since they established diplomatic ties 11 years ago. 
Trade volume between the two countries jumped to over US$100 million in 2005 from a meagre sum of US$380,000 in 1998. The rapidly-expanding trade volume showed that China has more confidence in the improving investment environment in Bosnia-Herzegovina, said Tihic. 
During the past few years, the Bosnia-Herzegovina government has formulated a number of policies to attract foreign direct investment. Furthermore, Bosnia-Herzegovina has clinched free trade agreements with neighbouring countries. 
Tihic said that Chinese enterprises could always find investment opportunities in Bosnia-Herzegovina because the Balkan country is rich in resources such as minerals, timbers and waterpower. Besides, it is less expensive for Chinese enterprises to set up factories in Bosnia-Herzegovina than in EU countries. 
On the situation in his country, Tihic said that Bosnia-Herzegovina has undergone profound changes since the end of the Bosnian war in late 1995. Under the Dayton agreement, the peace process has developed smoothly, with over 1 million refugees having returned to their homes and no traces of large-scale ethnic clashes being detected. 
The macro-economy has stabilized in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with gRoss domestic product (GDP) having grown twofold during the past 11 years and the per capita GDP surpassing US$2,000. 
Tihic said that his country is now giving priority to three issues -- the strengthening of administrative capacities of the central government, the bid for EU and NATO membership, and the realization of economic independence and sustainable development. 
To realize these goals, the Bosnia-Herzegovina government has launched dramatic reforms in areas of administration, education, defence and taxation. The country also established unified border forces, army, customs and the tax system. By the end of this year, Bosnia-Herzegovina is expected to conclude stabilization and association talks with the EU, laying a solid foundation for the country's entry into the 25-country bloc.

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