The Republic of Srpska Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Boris Pašalić, told SRNA that European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and German line minister Julia Klockner conveyed in Berlin the view that the constitutional structure in BiH and the competencies, according to which the agriculture-related policies are responsibility of entities, should be respected during the EU accession process.
Pašalić stressed that Wojciechowski and Klockner voiced European Commission and the German Government’s support for BiH’s European integration process at the meeting.
“I emphasized that we expect the European Commission and other partners to respect the constitutional structure of BiH and the constitutional competencies under which agriculture is the responsibility of the entities. They have agreed on it,” said Pašalić, who is on a three-day visit to Germany at the invitation of Klockner.
He voiced hope that a mechanism would be established in BiH within the existing constitutional structure to enable BiH and its entities to fulfill the conditions for accession to the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance in Rural Development /IPARD/ system in order to assist agriculture from EU funds.
“As we were able to adopt a strategic document for the development of agriculture in BiH, I believe we are able to address this issue, too. Unfortunately, IPARD system funds have not yet been available in BiH. About EUR 30 million should be available to us this year and, using these funds, we will be preparing to join the IPARD system,” Pašalić said.
He reiterated that the position of the Republic of Srpska and the Ministry of Agriculture is unambiguous – insisting on the constitutional structure of BiH to be fully respected and on Srpska to be clearly visible.
“I am convinced that we will find a mechanism to reconcile those interests and that BiH and its entities meet the conditions for accession to the IPARD system without violating BiH’s constitutional order,” Pašalić said.
According to him, opinions on agricultural policies and continued cooperation were exchanged at the meeting with Wojciechowski and Klockner.
“This meeting was organized within the Southeast Europe Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group /SWG/ of which Srpska is a full member and we have been acting and working through this group for a long time,” Pašalić said.
The minister of agriculture, forestry and water management of Srpska will participate tomorrow in the 12th Global Food and Agriculture Forum hosted by Klokner, and will attend a roundtable dedicated to the IPARD program organized by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Southeast Europe Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group.
“The Forum will be attended by 75 ministers of agriculture from all over the world, which is a good opportunity to exchange views, coordinate policies and improve or establish mutual cooperation. I expect many contacts with ministers from the region and the world.
This is a very important gathering and a good opportunity for us to enhance cooperation,” Pašalić emphasized.
Pašalić and his advisor Gordana Rokvić also attended the opening ceremony of the 85th Green Week, one of the world’s largest food fairs.