EU Programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Equal Partners or Insufficiently used Potential?
EU Programmes like Eramus+, Horizon 2020, Creative Europe and many other aim to support EU's internal policies and Bosnia and Herzegovina can take part in these programmes. Regardless the fact that in principle, such programmes are used to strengthen EU's internal policies, the logic behind allowing countries like BiH to take part is coming from the desire to bring the EU standards and policies closer to such countries and also from the fact that the beneficiaries can, through project activities, achieve concrete results, develop partner networks and increase their capacities.
BiH students, scientists, researchers, institutions, non-governmental organizations, cities and municipalities have so far used the possibility of participating in some of the programmes. The impressions are very positive, and the country has shown that it has sufficient potential to progress through this dimension of the EU integration process more successfully and faster than the official politics.
Our analysis aimed to offer an insight into what has been done so far and offer solutions for overcoming the obstacles so that even better results could be expected and achieved in the future. Depending on the programme, BiH results have varied, but the general trend is that the results are in the sphere of those achieved by the neighboring countries.
The participation from the country, in order to pay the entry fee ticket“ is usually returned to the country through project activities. It is important to emphasize here that BiH has a significant and crucial support from the EU institutions that pay for around 90% of the participation fees.
Such relations will gradually change; BiH will take over a larger part of financial obligation as the integration process is evolving. Due to this is necessary to make estimates in order to achieve positive participation in the future, and it will be achieved through increasing the scope of participants for each of the programme it is possible to apply for. This is an impossible scenario considering that the interest and potential of the beneficiaries is overcoming the results achieved so far.
Simple incentives and better visibility of the programmes can guarantee better results. Issues of co-financing, proactive and simplified process of joining the programmes (de-politization of the process), better communication between the institutions and the beneficiaries, practical examples on ways of applying and using the funds, full functionality of offices dealing with the programmes are just some of the factors which need to be improved.
Achieving better results in is all of our interests, and it is necessary to work on a common agenda which will strategically approach BiH's participation in EU programmes.