Newsletter 24/2012 - Our South East Europe

INTERVIEW with Vjekoslav Bevanda, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fulfilment of EU requirements for candidate status application a pending challenge

Mr. Bevanda, how would you asses the position of your country towards the European Union, after the 2012 country progress reports have been published by the European Commission?

Bosnia and Herzegovina remains stable on its path towards the European Union (EU). The Progress Report showed certain positive developments in terms of the political criteria that the EU assesses as well as the criteria related to the European standards. Bosnia and Herzegovina just like all other countries has to work harder on economic standards, which is understandable due to the global crisis that has lasted for the entire four years. 

What would you stress as the main achievements in 2012 and what are the major challenges for the coming year?

The year behind us, in my own judgement, has been extremely successful. After a year and a half of a temporary, technical functioning, an extraordinary leap forward has been achieved. The 2011 and 2012 budgets were adopted, and the 2013 budget was adopted last month as well. This is the first time that the budget for the coming year was passed in a timely manner. Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that was crucial for financial functioning of the country has been successfully agreed. Also, the 2012 EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) package was passed, which created preconditions for realization of EU macro-financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides, whole sets of important laws were adopted, such as the Law on State Aid and the Law on Census. I would also like to stress that funds for a quality census with realistic timeframe have been provided. Funds for operations of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption were also ensured. On top of that, the European Commissions’ Roadmap was agreed and achieved in the most part. Briefly, these are the outlines of this year’s achievements, while the challenges for next year include fulfilment of all requirements for applying for the EU candidate status: fulfilment of remaining conditions from the Roadmap, development of the country’s economy, adoption of a harmonized national energy strategy, as well as the adoption of 2013 IPA package and work on the rule of law and regional cooperation.    

What capacities and efforts is your country investing in regional cooperation and how would you assess the successfulness of regional cooperation in the context of individual countries and the region as a whole?

Bosnia and Herzegovina actively participates in the work of regional initiatives: South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), Central European Initiative (CEI), Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC), Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI), Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (AII), etc. A diplomat from Bosnia and Herzegovina has been appointed Director of RACVIAC, seated in Zagreb, Croatia, since October 2012.

From April 2012 to April 2013, Bosnia and Herzegovina is chairing MARRI's Committee and Forum and shall host their sessions. Same as before, this year, representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina took part in numerous meetings and conferences organized or co-organized by the RCC.

In your view, how could the Regional Cooperation Council additionally boost regional cooperation and strengthen good neighbourly relations among its members in the following year?

The focus should continue to be on close cooperation with the EU representatives so the RCC member countries that are still investing efforts in reaching their EU membership goals would get assistance in achieving these goals. Equally, successful cooperation within regional initiatives may serve as a good incentive for improvement of bilateral relations and, by creating an environment of cooperation and trust, impact the cooperation in all fields, both between member countries and between the region as the whole and other regions and integrations. 

During 2013, we also expect significant number of meetings and conferences that will be organized or co-organized by the RCC. Aiming to foster cooperation of countries from the region by coordinating common efforts and projects that will be implemented in the course of 2013, the RCC will continue with the activities that were the reason for its establishment.

In January 2013, Mr. Goran Svilanovic will take over position of the new RCC’s Secretary General, after a five-year mandate of Croatian diplomat, Mr. Hido Biscevic.

Vjekoslav Bevanda has been Chairman of the Council of Ministesr of Bosnia and Herzegovina since January 2012. Some of the duties Bevanda performed prior to the current position include: Member of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011-2012), Minister of Finance of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2007-2010)  and Director of Commerce Bank, Sarajevo. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, majoring in Finances.


Vjekoslav Bevanda, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Photo:

Vjekoslav Bevanda, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Photo: