Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.