The 5th Subcommittee meeting on Internal Market and Competition (including Public Health and Consumer Protection) between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) took place on 28 January 2021 via video conference. Representatives from the European Commission (Commission) discussed with relevant BiH authorities the most recent developments in these areas. The meeting was co-chaired for the EU by Mr. Zbigniew Zach from the Directorate General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, and for BiH by Mr. Hamdo Tinjak from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the area of financial services, the Commission welcomed the adoption of the new law on Deposit Insurance in Banks of BiH, which entered into force in June 2020, but urged the authorities to sign without delay the Memorandum of Understanding on Financial Stability and to restore the operations of the Securities Commission in the Federation entity.
Particular attention was given to public procurement where the Commission urged the BiH authorities to withdraw their last year’s decision to extend the application of preferential treatment of domestic companies in awarding public contracts in order to ensure compliance with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in this area. The Commission encouraged the BiH authorities to further harmonise their legislative framework with the EU acquis.
In the area of competition policy, the Commission emphasized the need to improve the functioning and decision-making process of the competition and State aid authorities. In this respect, the Commission welcomed the work undertaken to draft amendments to the Competition Law. Both competition and State aid authorities need to build a convincing enforcement record.
On health protection, the discussion focused on measures taken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Commission stressed that further efforts were needed to improve equal access to health care, develop anti-tobacco policies and to adopt the necessary legislation. The Commission also advised Bosnia and Herzegovina to strengthen state level coordination and cooperation of health authorities in the area of policy planning, in particular in the field of substances of human origin.