Republica Srpska out, Bosnia energy reforms on the way

Bosnia and Herzegovina need to handle energy reforms at state level to implement EU's Third Energy Package

Republica Srpska out, Bosnia energy reforms on the way

World Bulletin/News Desk

Bosnia and Herzegovina's energy sector is to be regulated at state level for the country to impose EU standard energy reforms in preparation for its EU integration. 

The European Union's legislative third energy package needs to be implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to Janez Kopac, Director of Energy Community Secretariat, based in Vienna. 

The Energy Community, a group established between the EU and non-EU countries, seeks to apply EU energy policies in non-EU countries.

The package which came into force in 2009, is to further open up the gas and electricity markets in the European Union and consists of proposed reforms to electricity and gas laws, a national action plan on energy efficiency and in renewables, and the creation of oil stocks.

The implementation of the package in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which depends on energy reforms to be made at state level, has been hampered by the Republika Srpska who opposes such reforms.  

The Republika Srpska, which for the past eight years have held power in the economy ministry of the federation, has not allowed reforms to be made at state level, according to Mubera Bicakcic, head of the primary energy and policy unit at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

On October 12, 3.3 million people voted in the general elections of the three state federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The federation, consisting of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, where the three members of the Presidency are elected by plurality, does not allow for the smooth implementation of unified regulations in sectors such as energy.

"I hope the minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina will not be from the Republika Srpska as it has been for the past eight years. We did not manage to adopt any national plans because of the opposition of this entity," Bicakcic said.

As the government could not implement essential economic reforms, the unemployment rate hit 44 percent and the country experienced huge protests in February.

 "The Energy Community prepared a draft law compliant with the third package for electricity and gas. The new minister could take these texts and immediately proceed with the discussion on adoption of the proper legislation," Kopac said.

Bicakcic and Kopaz agreed on the fact that a lot depends on the personality of the minister, in terms of implementing the laws. However, Bicakcic added, "At the end of the draft, the law should be presented at state level to parliament, and then again it could be blocked depending on the governing party or the coalition."

Additionally, Kopac emphasized the fact that some Serbian and Croatian politicians in the last 100 years wished to divide the country, causing three wars in the century. 

"It seems that some politicians continue with these attempts and therefore the state does not function well and loses out in constant disputes. This situation has to be dissolved," said Kopac. 

Greatest hydropower capacity

Emir Hadzikadunic, general secretary of International University of Sarajevo, said that the recent elections will create less party rule establishing a more effective government which can consider and implement energy policies consistent with EU regulations and broader energy associations.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina has the greatest hydro power capacity, but due to the lack of implementation of laws and adoption of the projects, this capacity is not utilized properly. A more effective government will bring more investments in hydroelectric power," Hadzikadunic said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ekim 2014, 13:26

Muhammed Öylek