Presentation: “The State Aid Requirements under the Stabilization and Accession Agreement between BiH and the EU”

First presentation, in a number of presentations organized by the Foreign Policy Initiative BH (FPI BH) and with the support of the Open Society Fund, was held on March 4th 2011, with the topic “The State Aid Requirements under the Stabilization and Accession Agreement between BiH and the EU”, analysis of which was previously made by the FPI BH.

The adoption of the national State Aid Law and the establishment of a national State aid institution for planning and control of State aid at the state level is necessary, in the period of time leading to the BiH membership in the EU in order for BiH to acquire comprehensive insight into categories, amounts and purposes of State aid granted at different levels of government in order to identify priorities, make analysis of State aid effects and strategically coordinate the industry and development policies of the state, which, according to the current constitutional set-up are shared jurisdictions of the three different levels of government.

With that goal, BiH must make the following steps:

• The BiH Parliament should – immediately – adopt the State Aid Law which already exists in a form of a proposal.

• Based on adopted Law, the B&H Council of Ministers should establish an independent body for State aid control by the end of 2011, which is to be responsible for deciding on recovery of unlawfully granted State supports when the time comes pursuant to deadlines from SAA. This body will, by then, be helping the entity, canton and Brčko District institutions to harmonise the practices of giving their subsidies with the European standards, starting from the year 2012.

• The BiH Council of Ministers should – immediately – adopt the annual Report on State Aid in B&H and pass it to European Commission, thus fulfilling its reporting obligation under the SAA.

• By July 2013, BiH and the European Commission should undertake mapping of State aid in order to assess the need for different State aid maximum limits in different parts of BiH before expiration of the status of a considerably underdeveloped country (July 2014), which provides for the application of the minimal limitations in terms of the intensity of State aid.

• By July 2012 the latest, BiH should establish a comprehensive inventory of existing State aid in B&H and an independent operational body with competence for control and approximation of such aid with EU norms, which should start operating by 2012;

• The Coordination Committee for Economic Development and European Integrations the BiH Council of Ministers the Entity governments and Government of Brcko District coordinate in the making of a study on State Aid Mapping in line with the deadlines from SAA.

• The BiH Council of Ministers should apply with the European Commission for funding under IPA funds for technical support projects aimed at supporting the development of a State aid system.