Germany, UK try to revive stalled Bosnian reforms and EU bid

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 05, 2014 9:50 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and Britain will try on Wednesday to revive Bosnia's stalled bid to join the European Union by seeking commitments to re-launch institutional reform from a new government yet to be formed, a German spokesman said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, were due to meet ministers from Bosnia and six other West Balkan states later on Wednesday to discuss the complex aftermath to Bosnia's October elections.

"Both ministers are very worried that reforms have come to a standstill, as has Bosnia-Herzegovina's path of convergence with the European Union," said Steinmeier's spokesman Martin Schaefer, referring to the German and British ministers.

He gave no details of how they hoped to revive Bosnia's EU bid, hampered by an unwieldy system of ethnic power-sharing set out in the Dayton peace accords that ended a 1992-95 war and split the former Yugoslav republic into two autonomous regions.

The elections produced a victory for nationalist parties but a political system based on ethnic and regional quotas has delayed the formation of a stable national government.

Schaefer said German and Britain both believed the aftermath of the vote was a window of opportunity to push reform, linking it to the prospect of access to EU funds, its single market of 500 million people and eventual membership.

Any moves towards accession negotiations with Bosnia will have to overcome resistance from some existing EU member states to the prospect of further enlargement of the 28-country bloc.

(Reporting by Stephen Brown in Berlin and William James in London; Editing by Paul Taylor)