Foreign Policy Initiative BH organized a panel discussion “Promotion of Rule of Law in the Western Balkans: Is BiH Prepared to Open Negotiations with the EU?” in Sarajevo on March 29th. The event was organized as part of the regional project implemented within Think for Europe Network “Benchmarking for EU Reform- How Effective? BENCHER”.
The event panelists, Nedžma Džananović-Miraščija from the Faculty of Political Science of Sarajevo University, Inela Hadžimešić, from the Initiative for Monitoring of EU Integrations and Lejla Ramić-Mesihović, Director of Foreign Policy Initiative BH highlighted the importance of more credible reform processes within the rule of law in order for BiH to progress in the EU integration process.
Lejla Ramić-Mesihović presented the key conclusions and recommendations of the country analysis for BiH done as part of the project, the title of which indicates that the next steps in the EU integration process will lead to the “masks falling off” and that the relevant institutions will have to be more accountable. The panelists agreed that the involvement of the civil society and the expert academia is necessary in order to widen the discourse on these topics, exert pressure and monitor the work of the institutions and that the reforms cannot be only declarative.
Highlighting the regional aspect of the project, it was underlined that the problems BiH faces are not unique and that they are shared by majority of the Western Balkan countries, which is why the approach of the international community and the European Union in developing of benchmarks and conditionality need to take into account such circumstances in order to be more effective.
During the discussion, the importance of joint activities by all stakeholder involved in the process in order to support the reform processes was pointed out. The event was attended by representatives of institutions, political parties, civil society organizations and international institutions.
The project is financed by the European Fund for the Western Balkans and Open Society Fund.
Reforming from the Bench-Marking Offside (regional analysis)