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Bosnia and Herzegovina: little progress in the implementation of recommendations on local and regional democracy

Monitoring Committee Oslo, Norway 3 July 2019
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Bosnia and Herzegovina: little progress in the implementation of recommendations on local and regional democracy

The members of the Congress Monitoring Committee examined the draft report on the situation of local and regional democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina during their meeting on 3 July 2019 in Oslo, Norway. Presented by co-rapporteurs Lelia Hunziker (Switzerland, SOC) and Carla Dejonghe (Belgium, ILDG), following monitoring visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018 and 2019, the draft report assesses the developments in the situation of local and regional democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the adoption of the last Congress recommendation in 2012.

The co-rapporteurs presented Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political framework and highlighted the territorial complexity of the country, divided into two federated entities. “The political asymmetry impacts the proper functioning of local and regional democracy and explains a partial compliance with the Charter depending on the communities”, stated Mrs. Dejonghe.

The report regrets the limited progress made since 2012 and “an extremely complex and fragmented system of local government”. The co-rapporteurs also recalled that no local elections have been held in the city of Mostar since 2008, depriving its residents of the right to choose their representatives at the local level.

The points of concern include, in particular, the lack of clarity in the assignment of responsibilities among various levels of authority, combined with the non-respect of the principle of subsidiarity, the lack of consultation with local authorities and insufficient financial resources.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina needs urgent constitutional and legislative reforms to ensure the municipalities' right to local self-government in compliance with the standards set out by the Charter”, said Mrs. Hunziker.

The report will be presented for adoption at the 37th Congress Session, which will be held in Strasbourg from 29 to 31 October 2019.

Bosnia and Herzegovina ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 2002. The countries which have ratified the Charter are bound by its provisions. The Charter requires compliance with a minimum number of rights, which form the European bedrock of local self-government. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities makes sure that these principles are observed.