EU project focuses on corruption in BiH

11/06/2014

A new project will help Bosnia and Herzegovina acquire the tools it needs to end corruption, EU officials said.

By Ana Lovaković for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo -- 11/06/14

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Holger Schroeder, charge d'affaires for the EU delegation in BiH, said ending corruption requires commitment from the country's politicians. [EU]

An EU project recently implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) would help the country organise its institutions and government to end corruption by providing better support for the accountability, transparency and improvement of public finance management and the work of civil society.

The project will aid the country in preparing its strategy and action plan against corruption for the years 2015 to 2019.

To date, EU efforts to end corruption in BiH have included assistance to law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.

According to Holger Schroeder, charge d'affaires for the delegation of the EU in BiH, the 450,000-euro project will help the country develop an updated strategy and action plan, and will provide support for the implementation of these strategies.

"We need effective law enforcement agencies, as well as judges and prosecutors who are not afraid to take on these complex cases. We also need the involvement of civil society and the media to jointly monitor developments in cases concerning corruption, and also to emphasise all the successes that have been achieved in this field," Schroeder said.

He added, however, that stopping corruption in BiH requires, above all, a commitment from the country's politicians to support the institutions that address these issues.

Ending corruption is one of the most important tasks BiH will face on its way to joining the EU.

Sead Lisak, director of the BiH Anti-Corruption Agency, said the country is at a crossroads in its struggle with corrupt activity.

"BiH needs a modern, engaged and bold strategy to combat corruption. By recognising and applying the best European practices against corruption, we will strive to improve the domestic product," Lisak told SETimes.

According to anti-corruption organisation Transparency International, however, past projects have not had the expected effect. In recent years, there has been an increase in the level of corruption in the country.

"The main difference between this project and others is that we will assist the agency for prevention of corruption to prepare a strategy and an action plan," Zoran Jacev, the leader of the EU project, told SETimes.

He said the strategy and action plan should be customised to accommodate the capacity of the institutions in BiH.

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The plan is expected to encourage institutions to fulfil their legal obligations, to more closely co-ordinate their activities, to strengthen citizens' confidence and to co-operate with the civil and business sectors, as well as the media.

The NGO sector and other non-institutional organisations will be directly involved in the project.

"The role of civil society organisations is to initiate activities planned in the strategy that have so far not been implemented. The strategy seeks to overcome the lack of political will in the fight against corruption," Eldin Karic, director of the anti-corruption NGO Account, told SETimes.

How can BiH effectively address corruption? Share your thoughts below.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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