EU Envoy Urges Lawmakers Not to Waste “a One Billion Euro Opportunity”

The European Union’s envoy to Bosnia criticized the lawmakers in national parliament for refusing to vote on a set of tax laws that would unlock an International Monetary Fund loan in urgent procedure. Commenting on the Thursday vote in the House of Representatives of the Bosnian Parliament on the set of laws on excise duties, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of EU Delegation and EU Special Representative, said: “Yesterday’s voting makes it harder to improve the country’s infrastructure, attract foreign investment, and create more and better jobs.  At a time of economic uncertainty across BiH and the region, this is a one billion euro opportunity that should not be so easily thrown away.  I would urge all political actors not to slam the door shut on much needed investments and reforms. BiH cannot once again be left behind and lose time on its path to the EU, while the rest of the region is moving forward.”

Parliamentarians rejected urgent procedure for the disputed set of laws which would raise excise taxes for fuel and pave the way toward another installment of a much-needed IMF loan. The package is among the last unfulfilled requirements and contains draft laws on amendments to laws on excise duties, on payments to a single account and allocation of revenue, on the indirect taxation system and on deposit insurance banks. It forms a significant part of the Reform Agenda 2015-18, which aims to bring the country closer towards European Union membership.

However, for citizens, it means increasing the price of a liter of fuel by 0.15 KM, which will pose an unwelcome additional burden on farmers.

The money raised that way should be used to finance road construction.

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