EU expects to sign Bosnia pact in April

The European Union, concerned at tensions in the Balkans fuelled by Kosovo's declaration of independence, expects to sign a key pact on closer ties with Bosnia in April, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said Tuesday.

EU expects to sign Bosnia pact in April
'I would expect that we should be able to sign the SAA (Stabilisation and Association Agreement) with Bosnia-Hercegovina shortly, that is in April,' he said.

However Rehn underlined that the signing was conditional on Bosnia-Hercegovina adopting requisite laws concerning the police, 'which they know very well.'

The EU has made police reforms a key condition for Bosnia to seal an SAA accord, essentially a trade and aid pact which is the first step towards joining the rich European club.

Rehn and Bosnian officials put their initials to the pact in December, but the EU has refused to sign it until the police reforms are undertaken.

The leaders of Bosnia's Serb community insist on retaining control of police in their Republika Srpska entity, which along with the Muslim-Croat Federation makes up post-war Bosnia.

But Croat and Muslim leaders want the forces to be unified and put under the authority of the state.

Rehn's remarks came with Bosnian leaders due in Brussels Tuesday and Wednesday to evaluate developments in Bosnia, and as the mandate of the EU and international representative there, Miroslav Lajcak, comes up for renewal.

The EU is still supervising inter-communal relations, which remain complicated 12 years after the Dayton accords that ended the 1992-1995 war there.

The recent declaration of independence by Kosovo has been met by a threat from the Bosnian Serbs to follow its example and break away-something the EU dearly wants to avoid.

Lajcak is expected to see his term renewed again this week, but officials with close knowledge of the dossier suggest that a time limit may be put on his mandate for the first time, in line with a demand by Russia.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Şubat 2008, 13:19