European lawmakers approve SAA with BiH

STRASBOURG, France — The European Parliament (EP) on Thursday (October 23rd) overwhelmingly approved the conclusion of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

Doris Pack, head of the EP’s Committee for Southeast Europe, had submitted a resolution highlighting areas in which the country must make further progress — state reform, return of refugees, non-discriminatory access to education and future constitutional structure.

“The EP supports the signing of the SAA with BiH despite the country’s slow progress,” Pack said. “However, responsible politicians in Sarajevo and the two entities must know that BiH can become an EU member only as a united country,” she stressed.

Seniors EU officials have sounded a similar theme, warning BiH leaders to behave responsibly and step up efforts in terms of the EU integration progress. In a speech to the EP, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said political wrangling had effectively halted reforms in BiH since the June signing of the SAA.

“There is open disagreement on most political questions, while there is no sense of urgency or responsibility to overcome this stalemate,” Rehn said. French State Secretary for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet added that the EU is disappointed with the course BiH has taken since June.

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