Bosnia's Federation entity on Tuesday adopted a reform plan crucial for the country’s EU ambitions and discussed its 2015-2018 action plan.
However, concrete action on any of the measures is threatened by the deepening political crisis in one of the country's two entities.
“The [reform] agenda is still not public, because it is not signed. This is the first government in Bosnia and Herzegovina that has adopted it,” Federation entity Prime Minister Fadil Novalic said after a government session.
According to the EU plan, the country's two entities and state government are due to adopt and then sign the reform agenda at a meeting with the European Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, scheduled for Thursday.
However, even if all three governments and adopt and sign the agenda on Thursday, its adoption in all three parliaments has been put at risk by the deepening political crisis in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The ruling coalition in the Federation fell apart last week when one coalition partner, the Democratic Front, DF, left the alliance.
The crisis in the Federation entity was evident during Tuesday’s government session, which adopted the reform plan without the four DF ministers who boycotted the session.
At a separate press conference on Tuesday they said they would resign in the near future unless the Federation premier replaced them.
Prime Minister Novalic said he would not dismiss them, however, and expressed the hope that they would continue working in the government and vote for the reform agenda in both the Federation and state parliaments.
“We extend our hand and invite them to [join] the constructive work of the Federation government,” Novalic said.
But the DF has upped the ante even further. On Tuesday the Federation vice president, Milan Dunovic, from the DF, filed a request to the Federation's constitutional court to determine the constitutionality of a disputed regulation that was adopted last week against DF votes, which led to the collapse of the ruling coalition.
This relates to the appointment of managing boards of public companies. In the past, ministers were in charge of such appointments to public companies in fields coming under their responsibility.
However the the DF's coalition partners – the [Bosniak] Party of Democratic Action, SDA and the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ – wanted to change the managerial structures in the companies, employing people loyal to their parties. They insisted on changing the regulation so that the entire government decides on appointments to all companies.
The DF insisted that managerial changes should be made only to problematic companies and rejected the changes. After the SDA and HDZ last week outvoted the DF and changed the disputed regulation, the DF walked out.
This crisis comes at a bad time as Bosnian governments are bound to tight schedule. They have to adopt a reform agenda within the next month if Bosnia is to get a new arrangement from the IMF by the end of the year. Without it, Bosnia faces a likely liquidity crisis by October.