The annual meeting of the Monitoring Committee for the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which supports Bosnia and Herzegovina on its EU integration path, was held on 8 December 2020. It was co-chaired by Ms Michela Matuella, Head of Unit for Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, and Ms Zara Halilovic, Assistant Director in the Directorate for EU Integration, on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s side. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting took place online.
The purpose of the meeting was to review the implementation of EU support in Bosnia and Herzegovina and plan the way forward. Participants also assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of EU funding.
While recognising the challenges in the coordination of different levels of government for the use of IPA assistance, the European Commission acknowledged the progress made in the implementation of important projects, like the High Security State Prison, and on the programming of future IPA III funds. Bosnia and Herzegovina has identified areas of cooperation for the next two years in line with national priorities and the priorities of its European integration path. Dialogue for the finalisation of the programming of funds will continue in the next months and the 2021 and 2022 programmes are expected to be adopted by the end of next year.
For future programming, it will be key to finalise the country wide strategies for public administration reform and public finance management, also in view of possible budget support. The EU noted that the implementation of the reforms in the Rule of Law sector needs to be improved and the conditionalities to access already allocated funding for Environment, must be fulfilled. It is important to ensure a single project pipeline for the transport, environment and energy sectors, also in view of the Economic and Investment Plan.
Finally, a sustainable solution to the issue of the internal coordination, in line with the relevant IPA Regulation and the role of the NIPAC, must be swiftly agreed in order to ensure that no delay occurs and that BiH does not lose access to future EU funding.