Bosnia finally has a government, four months after the country held parliamentary elections, Balkan Insight reports, and has made a formal move toward closer EU integration.
Leaders of the country’s six-party ruling coalition finished doling out cabinet posts on 22 February. Among the holdups had been repeated failures to agree on who would lead the lower house of parliament, with a breakthrough reached only last week. And it was only in early February that the three members of the country’s presidency agreed on a prime minister–designate, Reuters reported at the time.
With a government in place, legislators then adopted a declaration affirming their support for the country’s EU accession. That in turn allows Brussels to move forward with a Stabilization and Association Agreement, which generally promotes free trade and economic and political reforms and is an early step in the EU entry process.
Bosnian officials likewise took months following the previous general elections, in 2010, to form a government. The country is hobbled by a divided and layered system of government that stopped the civil war of the 1990s but has made agreement elusive. Competition among parties representing the country’s three primary ethnic groups ― Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) ― as well as intraparty squabbling have contributed to the delays.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, visited Bosnia on 23 February. In remarks after the declaration was passed she said, “I think everybody is very much aware of the fact that, on one side, yes ― today can be a historical moment; on the other side, the risk of going back to disillusion is high and that no one here or in Brussels can afford going back to political stalemate that has been there for so long.”