1. EXTRACTS FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPORTS ON BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (2005 – 2007), COUNCIL OF EUROPE REPORTS ON BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (2005 – 2008) AND GRECO COMPLIANCE (2005) AND GRECO EVALUATION REPORT (2006) ON BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (PDF) download >>>
2. ANALYSIS ON BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA BASED ON THE EXTRACTS FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPORTS (2005 – 2007) COUNCIL OF EUROPE REPORTS (2005 – 2008) AND GRECO COMPLIANCE AND EVALUATION REPORTS (2005, 2006)
In its Progress Report (2005) European Commission points out that corruption remains a serious and widespread problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina which affects all aspects and levels of society, underlining that further efforts are necessary to fight corruption.
Following year, the Commission repeats that corruption remains a serious issue, emphasizing that Bosnia and Herzegovina made limited progress in dealing with corruption.
In 2007, European Commission and Council of Europe stress that corruption is widespread and remains a serious problem, pointing out that limited progress is made in dealing with corruption.
Council of Europe, in its Report 2008, states that Bosnia and Herzegovina has made limited progress in fighting corruption.
Capacities to Fight Corruption and Anticorruption Policies
In 2005, European Commission greets adoption of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy, however underlining that it does not contain an Action Plan and that it has very little impact. In addition, European Commission, Council of Europe and GRECO note that the Ministry of Security and the State Investigation and Protection Agency may be considered the strongest mechanisms available to coordinate anti-criminal efforts, while the Monitoring Office of the Economic Policy Planning Unit is in charge of monitoring and evaluating the National Anti-corruption Strategy. Furthermore, it is pointed out that the number of successful prosecutions remains low, while Council of Europe underlines that it must be ensured that judges and prosecutors dealing with organised crime and corruption are properly trained on the European Convention on Human Rights and the Strasbourg Court’s case-law.
Following year, the Commission, Council of Europe and GRECO note as a positive development adoption of the 2006-2009 Strategy for the Fight against Organised Crime and Corruption, underlining that it needs to be properly implemented, monitored and that particular attention should be paid to developing the necessary structures and to increasing enforcement capacity. In addition, it is emphasized, again, that the number of successful prosecutions remains low and that anti-corruption legislation is not fully harmonised across the country.
In 2007, European Commission and Council of Europe state that the implementation of National Anti-Corruption Strategy and action plan is not satisfactory, underlining that enforcement of the legal framework and coordination and training of the agencies involved in fighting corruption have limited results. It is pointed out, for the third time, that convictions for corruption remain limited, while no independent anti-corruption agency is established.
In its Report (2008) Council of Europe states that in order to lift the EU visa restrictions Bosnia and Herzegovina will need, among the other issues, to fight organised crime and corruption. It is underlined, again, that Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected, according to GRECO’s recommendation to enforce the new legal framework and to improve co-ordination and better training of the agencies involved in the detection, investigation and prosecution of corruption.
International Conventions and Obligations
In 2005, the Commission greets ratification of the UN Convention against Trans-national Crime, the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and the Council of Europe Civil Law Convention against Corruption, underlining that Bosnia and Herzegovina did not sign the Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, and that it is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. In conclusion, it emphasizes that Bosnia and Herzegovina is involved in the Stability Pact’s Anti-corruption Initiative and that it is a member of the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption.
Following year, European Commission repeats that Bosnia and Herzegovina did not sign the Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and did not ratify the UN Convention on Fighting Corruption, underlining again that it is not a party to the 1997 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
In its Progress Report (2007) European Commission identifies as a positive step Bosnia’s ratification of the UN Convention on Fighting Corruption, while it points out, again, as well as Council of Europe, that ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption is still pending.
In 2005, European Commission underlines that, in the area of judiciary, further progress towards meeting European standards requires independent and efficient judicial system, while GRECO notes as a positive step establishment of an Independent Judicial Commission responsible for selecting of judges and prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a view to avoid political influence on the selection process. In addition Council of Europe emphasizes that the appointments by the new High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council are expected to contribute, to a great extent, to the fight against corruption in the judiciary.
In its Progress Report (2006) the Commission greets adoption of a Code of Ethics which contains guidance to judges and prosecutors for exercising their authority in a fair, transparent and independent manner, however it underlines that the judicial system is not completely free from political interference.
Following year, European Commission repeats its concerns over political interference in judicial system, underlining that sustained efforts are necessary to improve efficiency and to ensure the independence of the judicial system.
In 2007, European Commission states that petty and serious corruption within the police remains widespread.
Public Administration and Business Environment
In its Progress Report (2005), European Commission states that there are insufficient safeguards against political interference in public administration. Moreover, the Commission and Council of Europe express their concerns over existence of corruption and anti-competitive practices as deterrents to investment and enterprise.
Following year, the Commission notes that considerable amount of legislation has been passed by the new executive – mainly related to organised crime, privatisation and public administration and that the National Strategy for the Reform of the Public Administration is adopted. However, it repeats its concerns over the insufficient safeguards against political interference in public administration, highlighting that further efforts are indispensable to accelerate reforms in this area in order to build a transparent, efficient and independent public administration. Finally, it restates that existence of corruption and poor enforcement of laws are deterrents to investment and enterprise.
In 2007, the Commission repeats for the third time that there are insufficient safeguards against political interference in public administration, emphasizing that significant further efforts towards an efficient, professional, stable, accountable and transparent civil service are necessary. In conclusion, it is pointed out that political interference in the judicial system impair the business environment by undermining effective enforcement of creditor and property rights
In 2005, European Commission and GRECO state that Laws on public procurement is adopted, where the Commission underlines that compliance with some key requirements is deliberately delayed, concluding that its proper implementation remains a challenge and that there is a need for the establishment of the bodies provided for in the public procurement law.
Following year, the Commission greets establishment of the Procurement Review Body.
In its Progress report (2007) European Commission emphasizes that there is a strong need to improve the capacity of contracting entities to manage procurement procedures efficiently – in order to properly enforce of the public procurement legislation.
European Commission, in 2005, greets adoption of a new Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering, underlining that proper implementation and enforcement of this legislation should now be ensured. In addition, the Commission states that further action is needed – taking into account that the effectiveness of anti-money laundering defences is adversely affected by corruption organised crime, informal economy and high level of cash transactions.
In its Report in 2006, the Commission notes that no new legislation against money laundering is adopted, emphasizing that preparations in the area of money laundering are initiated but law enforcement remains insufficient. In addition, GRECO expresses its concern over existence of fictitious companies which are contributing factor to the facilitation of money laundering and corruption at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina, underlining that guidelines should be issued to encourage and assist the professionals concerned to meet their reporting obligations under the law.
Following year, the Commission states that efforts need to continue, underlining that the Law on the confiscation of illegally acquired property is not adopted which hampers enforcement of anti-money laundering measures. In conclusion, it is pointed out that supervision of non-banking financial institutions and intermediaries remains limited.
Conflict of Interests
In 2005, European Commission notes as positive step adoption of the law on the conflict of interest, underlining that its consistent implementation needs to be ensured. In addition, the Commission and Council of Europe underline that the State-level Law on Conflict of Interests is successfully implemented but entity legislation makes provision for different enforcement bodies which may jeopardise uniform handling of conflict of interest cases throughout the country.
Following year, the Commission highlights that sustained efforts are needed to ensure the correct implementation of the Law on Conflict of Interests. In addition, GRECO is of the opinion that current system does not meet its intended purpose to deal with conflicts of interest in a credible manner, underlining that an effective system for reviewing financial declarations should be introduced and that a Code of Conduct for civil servants at State level should be adopted.
European Commission, in 2007, states that there is some progress in enforcing the law on conflict of interest, with the Central Election Commission sanctioning a number of elected officials and preventing them from running for office.
Free Access to Information
In its report in 2005, the Commission states that separate laws on free access to information are in force at the various levels of government.
Following year, GRECO stresses that, although steps are taken to improve public awareness of the law, number of citizens’ requests for information remains very limited, underlining that further improvements are recommended with respect to effective implementation of access to information legislation.
Financing Political Parties
In 2005, the Commission and Council of Europe state that staff shortages at the Audit Department of the Electoral Commission hamper implementation of the Law on Political Party Financing.
European Commission, in 2007, emphasizes that amending of the law on financing of political parties is necessary to prevent corrupt practices, underlining that prevention and enforcement need to be strengthened.
Customs and Taxation
In 2005, European Commission states that sustained efforts are needed to continue approximation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s customs and taxation legislation to the acquis, to increase the administrative capacity to implement this legislation, and to fight against corruption and fiscal evasion. In addition, GRECO states that administrative preparations for the introduction of VAT are underway, highlighting that this reform will reduce the opportunities for corruption by tackling the black and grey economies.
Next year, the Commission states that customs legislation is in place and is largely aligned with acquis, underlining that its full implementation needs to be ensured. Moreover, it is pointed out that the Indirect Taxation Authority is pursuing its efforts in combating fraud and corruption, and that the training for its entire staff on a Code of Conduct in line with EU standards is ongoing. In conclusion, the Commission underlines that the tax administration needs to pursue its anticorruption policies.
In 2008, the Commission states that the Indirect Taxation Authority made progress in combating fraud and corruption by increasing the level of risk analysis and intelligence work, however underlining, again, as well as GRECO that stronger action needs to be taken in the fight against corruption, since only limited progress was made over the reporting period.
Competition and State Aid
In its Progress Report (2005), European Commission greets the establishment of Competition Council and the adoption of a new Competition Law, underlining that further efforts to align legislation with the acquis are needed. On the other hand, it is pointed out that, as regards state aid, transparency is low, there is no established authority overseeing state assistance and no comprehensive inventory of state aid schemes, underlining that the necessary State-level legislation need to be adopted.
Following year, the Commission perceives as a positive step adoption of the Competition Act, underlining that further amendments remain necessary for alignment with the acquis. However, it points out that there is no relevant state aid legislation, there is no State-level body responsible for the monitoring of aid given from the public budget, and consequently there is no comprehensive inventory of state aid schemes. In conclusion, it is pointed out that the state level has no competence in this field and that state aid is mainly provided by several lower levels of government with little transparency.
In 2007, the Commission stresses that, although some progress is made, Competition Law requires further alignment with the acquis. It repeats again that the necessary legislation and the establishment of an operationally independent state aid monitoring authority remains a priority.