European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday called for Bosnia to take its faith into its own hands and find a compromise to end the political deadlock blocking crucial reforms.
"We want you to move toward (European Union) membership. It is important that Bosnia-Hercegovina does not fall behind the rest of the region in this path. And for that, (Bosnia) should take its faith into its own hands," Barroso said in Sarajevo after meeting with members of Bosnia's tripartite presidency.
"I underlined the need to see determination, political responsibility (...) a culture of compromise in Bosnia-Hercegovina. This common vision and common desire is crucial to address the reforms that are the key to progress towards the E.U.," he said.
Barosso stressed that Bosnia needed a government at state level to be in place to address the reforms the E.U. demands.
The reforms are mostly aimed at strengthening the central government at the expense of the two semi-autonomous entities that make up post war Bosnia: the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serbs' Republika Srpska.
Despite the fact that the continuing political crisis has practically halted all reforms at the moment, Bosnia's Serb member of the rotating presidency Nebojsa Radmanovic said he believed that Sarajevo would be able to push through reforms this year enabling it to launch an official E.U. membership application.
"I myself believe as do the other two members of the presidency (Muslim Bakir Izetbegovic and Bosnian Croat Zeljko Komsic) that we could this year do the groundwork that will allow us to apply for candidacy status," Radmanovic said, adding that it was one of the "rare joint visions" of the Bosnian political class.
In 2008, Bosnia signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Brussels which is a first step towards EU membership. Bosnia has been politically deadlocked for over six months as its ethnically divided politicians have not managed to form a central government.
Before officially submitting its candidacy Bosnia must notably adopt legislation that will allow a census to be held, set up a national agency to supervise the handout of state aid to the public and private sector and change the constitution after the European court of Human Rights ruled it discriminated against Jews and Roma.