eNewsletter: Issue XXXIV, July 2013 - September 2013
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Report on the performance of governments and parliaments for the first six months of 2013 in BiH have been published. In short not all the parliaments and governments worked in the same dynamics. The RS National Assembly proved far more efficient than the Federation BiH Parliament, still shaken with strong political crisis. The IMF and other international bodies present in BiH still have to remind the local authorities to fulfill previously taken obligations. These reports are merely a part of the monitoring of work of BiH authorities performed by CCI within the CAPP II program, which is financially supported by the USAID.  More…

BH Council of Ministers

Compared to the previous period, BH Council of Ministers has worked more in 2013, has held more sessions, implemented more measures, but on the other hand, bad performance regarding essential obligations of this institution – passing new legislative, strategies and other measures of priority national importance continues.

In the first half 2013, 10 sessions more were held by the Council of Ministers compared to the same period of the last year. This year’s 23 sessions is the second best result in this regard in the last 7 years.

788 implemented measures that we recorded in the first half of 2013 are by 32% better result compared to the last year. Compared to the last 7 years, only the result in 2009 was better than this year’s result. The time spent by the members of this institution in sessions also increased, in comparison with the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. However, the Council of Ministers again, for the 6th time in the last 7 years, approved less than 20 bills in half a year. In 2008 we estimated that the approved 24 bills in half a year was an outrageous result, while today this represents the best result in the last 7 years.

In the first half of this year more bills were approved by even the Sarajevo Canton Government than by BH Council of Ministers, and we should not even mention the comparison with entities’ governments.

This year has again seen the usual low performance when it comes to passing of the bills approved by BH Council of Ministers in the Parliamentary Assembly.  

Finally, the semi-annual result of 2013 is the worst performance in the last 7 years when it comes to the implementation of the measures that can be deemed to be of exceptional and lasting importance for solving the ‘burning’ problems of citizens (corruption, lack of foreign investments, unemployment, extreme poverty, lagging behind in the process of EU integrations, dysfunctional public administration, etc.). Every year there are less and less of such measures implemented by the Council of Ministers, thus making the personal and parties’ interests more and more distant from the interest of BH citizens.

The activities of BH Council of Ministers in the first half of this year will not contribute to better assessments of our country in the next Progress Report for BiH for 2013. Although there were certain results such as placing the points for illegal crossing of state border under full control, approval of the Law on Program of Witness Protection, working on establishing the Council for State Assistance, ensuring the implementation of the Law on Census for Inhabitants, Households and Apartments in BiH, the implemented Protocol on Exchange of Information and Proofs between BH Prosecutor’s Office and the Special Prosecutor’s Office for War Crimes of the Republic of Serbia, etc.,  many key measures from the so-called Brussels “Road Map”, entrusted to BH CM (along with BH PA) as a priority, have not been accomplished, as follows:

•    The new BH strategy of social inclusion;

•    A single BH Law on Courts;

•    Law on Free Legal Assistance in BiH;

•    Strategies for the development of quality infrastructure system and horizontal coordination mechanisms;

•    Comprehensive strategies for rural development;

•    Harmonization of BH Customs Law with EU Customs Code;

•    State Law on Promotion of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship;

•    Energy strategies (comprehensive) for BiH (including improvement of energy efficiency of renewable energy sources too);

•    New anti-corruption law on public procurements, harmonized with EU standards, etc.

Finally, the activities of the Council of Ministers did not contribute, in this time period either, to full implementation of the decision of the European Court for Human Rights in the case of Sejdić-Finci, aimed at harmonization of Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitution with the European Convention on Human Rights.  

The level of implementation of the planned tasks for 2013 is still disastrous.   Only 52% of tasks that should have been realized in the first half of 2013 according to the Work Program of the Council of Ministers have been implemented – 170 of 326 planned measures. At the level of the annual plan, ¼ of the planned was realized.  

None of the Ministries fully implemented its semi-annual work plan, while 4 ministries (Justice Ministry, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Defense Ministry and Ministry of Exterior) have not realized even 50% of the plan for the first 6 months of this year, as of 30 June.  

Speaking of the annual plan, over 30% of the plan was realized only by the Ministry of Finances and Treasury and the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees.  

The situation is even worse when it comes to the implementation of the legislative plan, i.e. the overall implementation of the laws by BH Council of Ministers.  After the end of June 2013, of 68 laws planned for one year, i.e. 41 for the first half of the year, only 9 bills were approved, and none of them related to the planned fundamental laws. Among the non-approved and planned laws for the first half of the year there are even 15 fundamental laws. That is to say, during 50% of the time in the current year, 13% of the annual legislative plan was accomplished or 22% of semi-annual plan.

During the first half of the year, as many as four ministries did not approve any planned law for the current year (Ministry for Transport and Communications, Defense Ministry, Security Ministry and Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees).  

8 unplanned bills were approved, so that in total there are 17 approved bills in half a year, of which only two were approved by BH PA in that time period.

If we take into account the bills approved by the Council of Ministers during its mandate until now, i.e. by 30 June 2013, (both planned and unplanned), we arrive at a disastrously low data of 46 total approved bills during the 17-month term (2.7 bills a month). Of them, 20 were approved by BH PA, 11 voted down or returned to the proponent, while 15 laws are still in the parliamentary procedure.

It is absolutely absurd that the Council of Ministers publicly boasts about such enormously low performance in law-making, instead of holding someone responsible and making sure that some bears serious consequences for the yet unseen inefficiency.  In the Report on the Work of the Council of Ministers for 2012, approved by BH PA, the Council of Ministers speaks affirmatively about the legislative activity undertaken in 2012, which, according to them, included the proposal of new legal solutions and amendments to the laws proved in practice to contain legal gaps or grey areas, so that in that year they approved and submitted 30 bills for the parliamentary procedure (according to the CCI’s information, it is not 30, but 29). And then they go on to specifically emphasize that among these 30 bills there are those that were not planned by the work program, but still approved, for example, the Law on Amendments to the Law on Financing BH Institutions, the Law on Amendments to the Law on Internal Audit of BH Institutions, Law on Communications.  

This Law, or more precisely amendments to the Law on Communications, was even planned by the Program for 2012.  

They however failed to mention the fact that there were only 9 fundamental laws and that among the bills approved in 2012 there are even three laws on budget for 2011, 2012 and 2013, something that we could not find in the practice of any neighboring country; something else that is especially strange is that they should keep silent about as many as 44 non-realized laws from the last year’s plan.  

If we want to objectively judge the performance of our government (Council of Ministers) the best is to compare it with that of the Governments of our neighbours.  On 07 July 2013, Croatia became the 28th full member of the European Union. Looking back, we will remember that exactly 10 years ago Bosnia and Herzegovina received the so-called Feasibility Study, while this important step on the road to meeting the requirements for full membership in EU took place in Croatia three years before. Serbia signed the Feasibility Study two years after Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hypothetically speaking, if Bosnia and Herzegovina had been following the same rate as Croatia, we would be able to become a full member of EU in 2016.  

The European logic is quite simple, those who work harder, accept more laws and other EU standards, get closer to the European family. As usual, the Council of Ministers has fewer sessions compared to the Governments of our neighbours: only in the first half of 2013 the Government of Montenegro approved 22 bills more compared to BH Council of Ministers, the Government of Serbia 36 bills more and Croatia almost 11 times more. Among the bills approved by the Government of Croatia, there are even 121 with EU designation, the so-called European Laws (the laws with a EU designation that contain the obligatory statement on harmonization of proposed legislation with acquis communautaire). Just for an illustration, 26 different bills were approved by the Government of the Republic of Croatia in only two regular sessions (91st and 92nd session – held at the end of May), of which 17 are the so-called European Laws, therefore, the number of EU laws from just two sessions of the Republic of Croatia Government is equal to the total number of bills approved by the Council of Ministers during a half of 2013.  

And finally, while the Council of Ministers approved only two strategies during one half of the year, 6 were approved by the Government of Serbia, 9 by the Government of Montenegro, while the biggest number of strategies in this period was approved by the Croatian Government, i.e. 13.

BiH Parliamentary Assembly

Instead of implementing the recommendations from the previous audit reports of the Office for Auditing, BH Parliamentary Assembly received, a qualified opinion again for 2012 , with highlighting the issue:  Office for Auditing BH Institutions performed audit of BH Parliamentary Assembly for 2012 and expressed its qualified opinion, with highlighting the issue. The explanation of the Office for Audit included the assertion that the expenses referring to the monthly lump sums, the use of private cars to visit families and for coming to sessions, drivers’ per diems and petty cash had not been spent transparently  nor were they supported with appropriate documentation that could prove that they were spent purposefully. The funds spent as the expenses of the clubs were neither supported with adequate documentation that would prove the purpose for and justification of incurring the expenses or the adjustment with the internal decision on the manner and the criteria for allocation of operating funds for representatives' clubs and representatives.

After a „double“ voting down of the Law on Unique Master Citizen Number in BH Parliament, this Law was forwarded to BiH Constitutional Court: Turning down by BH PA of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Unique Master Citizen Number in BiH  resulted in the citizens' protest in front of BH institutions building. After that the proposal made by BH Council of Ministers was agreed and unanimously supported by the House of Representatives of BH PA , i.e. it was approved, however the Club of the Bosniac Delegates in BH PA House of Peoples (three delegates from SDA) invoked „the vital national interest“. Therefore, due to a failure to reach consent of the members of the Committee of the House of Peoples, this Law was forwarded to BiH Constitutional Court. Pending the resolution of BH Constitutional Court, and before the expiry of the temporary Decision of BH Council of Ministers on issuing the Unique Master Citizen Numbers to newly born babies, valid 180 days since its issuing, the political parties taking part in BH Parliamentary Assembly should reach a necessary compromise so that this Law is finally approved by BH PA.

Non-approval of „The Program of Integration of BiH in EU“ proves that our country's support to the European road is only of declaratory nature: Although all the relevant institutions have been constantly warning that the authorities of our country should pass this strategically important document on the European Road of BiH – „Program of Integration of BiH in EU“ - as soon as possible (actually, they should have done it a long ago..), this document has not yet been made, agreed or approved in BH Parliament. One of the reasons for this is that this document would clearly define the obligations of BiH on the European road,  so that it would be clear who does what and when on that road and who assumes the responsibility for all its segments. And the most important segment includes efficient coordination of all activities among the state, entities' and Brcko District institutions, which are primary responsible for the European road of BiH.

The number of the laws voted down in BH PA gets „dangerously“ close to, likewise small, number of approved laws: The pervading dysfunctionality of BH authorities is the best reflected in very few laws that get approved; furthermore it happens often that the laws voted down outnumber the approved laws.  While in 1st quarter of 2013, 5 laws were approved and 6 voted down, the situation somewhat improved in 2nd quarter, so that in the first 6 months of this year, 12 laws were approved and 8 voted down by BH PA. If this trend continues, BH PA will not be able to approve even 1/3 of the laws from its Work Program by the end of the year.

A considerable delay in approving Indicative Work Plans for 2013 was one of the reasons for low performance of BH Parliament.  The work of BH Parliamentary Assembly without approved indicative work plans for both BH PA Houses, which lasted for two years (2011 and 2012), and a considerable delay in their approving for 2013 (1.5 – 2.5 months), are some reasons for low performance of the Parliamentary Assembly in 1st quarter 2013. The approved 12 laws are not even one fifth of the realization of the annual work plan or less than 1/3 of the envisaged semi-annual work plan. This is all proves that the previous practice should be brought to an end, and that BH PA work program should be approved by the end of the calendar year for the next year.  

The current BH PA has shown almost three times lower performance than the previous BH PA, and twice as low performance as that of the penultimate BH PA: In terms of legislative activities, former BH PA was almost three times more efficient than the current, given that 33 laws were approved by BH Parliamentary Assembly from 01 January to 30 June 2009 (i.e. 21 laws more compared to those approved by the current BH PA). We would like to remind that in the first half 2009, 23 plenary sessions of both Houses of BH PA were held, while the current BH PA, i.e. its both houses, held 15 plenary sessions in the first half of this year, or 8 sessions less compared to the last BH PA. Also, the penultimate BH PA approved 25 laws from 01 Jan to 30 June 2005, which is twice as good result as the one of the current BH PA.

Insufficient number of plenary sessions in the first half of the current year resulted in a very low performance when it comes to BH PA legislative activities: The members of BHPA House of Representatives spent a total of 54.16 hours (which is an average 5.42 hours per one held session) or about 7 eight-hour working days (6.8) in plenary sessions (10 sessions including one adjourned) during the period 01 January to 30 June 2013. At the same time, the members/deputies of BH PA House of Peoples spent a total of 11.20 hours (2.8 hours on the average per one held session) in 4 sessions of that House, which is a little less than a 1.5 eight-hour working day  (1.4). Furthermore, no plenary sessions were held of the House of Peoples for as long as during two months (March and April), including one-month break of both BH PA Houses during the period 06 June to 08 July 2013 (32 days), after citizens' protests in front of the building of BH Institutions, which lasted from 05 to 07 June 2013.

The approved laws in BH PA are somewhat 'less costly' compared to 1st quarter of the current year, but are still the most expensive in the region:Considering that the salaries and the total income of representatives and delegates of BH PA were not reduced compared to the last year (2012) – and comparing the average income of BH Parliament members in 1st half of 2013 with the number of approved laws and plenary sessions held, we can conclude that, hypothetically speaking, one held plenary session „cost“ BH citizens about 115.000 KM, and one law approved in the first 6 months about 144.000 KM, so that we have somewhat lower 'costs' compared to the 1st quarter, but still the most expensive laws in the region.  

There are still big differences in personal responsibility toward the work among representatives/delegates of both BH PA Houses. In 10 plenary sessions held from 01 January to 30 June 2012, the House of Representatives had 463 debates, while only 19 delegates made 44 initiatives. 251 delegates' questions were raised by a total of 41 delegates of BH PA House of Representatives. The deputies/delegates of BH PA House of Peoples, in 4 plenary sessions held, had about 51 debates, and 3 deputies/delegates of the BH PA House of Peoples raised more than 2/3 of the total number of delegates' questions (15 or 53,6%). 7 initiatives were made, 5 initiatives by the delegate Nermina Kapetanović, SDA, while the delegates Mehmed Bradarić, SDPBiH and Halid Genjac, SDA, started one initiative each, which is a clear indication of a big difference between representatives/delegates in terms of their individual responsibility.

BiH and EU – ''So close, yet so far away'' – discrimination in BH PA continues, even besides the temporary decision on issuing UMCN to newly born babies: Discrimination of citizens of our country still continues. 4 years since passing of the decision of the European Court for Human Rights in the case „Sejdic-Finci“ which determined that the discrimination of a big number of citizens was on stage in BiH, discrimination is still present and affects all citizens of BiH who are not members of one of three constitutive peoples and who wish to run for a member of BH Presidency or a delegate in BH PA House of Peoples. It is obvious that recent admission of the Republic of Croatia to EU did not have a big impact on the representatives of BH authorities that would have resulted in their long awaited implementation of the decision in the case „Sejdic-Finci“.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the poorest country in Europe, in which the poverty is felt only by the citizens, while the politicians do not even make any efforts to understand them, even though it is the citizens who enable them such an easy life at the time of crisis:Bosnia and Herzegovina is the poorest country in Europe, shows the latest survey of the European statistical service ''Eurostat''. The survey related to the level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and included the standard of purchasing power of citizens of every country. A BDP, 71% below the European average was recorded in BiH, which makes it the poorest country in Europe, i.e. the country with the lowest standard of living.

Salaries of BH PA deputies/delegates are still among the highest in the region, and only for visiting their family 4 times a week, some BH PA delegates make additional earning higher than one and a half average salary in BiH. Total income of representatives and delegates in BH PA still ranges from 4.800,00 KM to 7.000,00 KM, while the highest income can be found with these delegates of BH PA who use the right to a separate life and accommodation in Sarajevo and visit their families 4 times a month, and who are at the same time members of one or more of „ad-hoc“ committees. In the 1st half 2013, 24 representatives of BH PA used a fee for visiting their family 4 times a month, which, depending on the distance to the place of residence, for certain representatives amounted to even more than 1.400,00 KM on the monthly basis. It is worth mentioning that a total of =98.423,67 KM were allocated for these purposes in the first half of 2013 (excluding the contributions on the said funds).

Recommendation by the Centers for Civic Initiatives to the representatives and delegates of BH PA: the citizens' expectations are high, you did not fulfill the promises that you made, increase the rate of your work by the end of the year and meet the commitments that you took, something that you should have done a long ago:

And finally start working in the interest of the citizens of this country, do not produce further crises that only suits your interest, take full responsibility for the work for which you have been exceptionally well paid and don't forget that the general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina are approaching, and that you failed to fulfill most of the election promises that you made, and that this will be very seriously valued by the citizens. And do not forget that the time in which we live requires from Bosnia and Herzegovina to have politicians who have knowledge and skills, as well as a clear vision of its better future and who show both readiness and courage to cope with the accumulated problems of citizens. And especially those politicians that are able to adjust their country to the norms and standards valid for any government which really, rather than just declaratorily, supports „the European standards“.

BH Federation Parliament

The first half of 2013 saw continued failed efforts at dismissing the Government, with the Constitutional Court becoming an inevitable factor of the political life in the Federation, all this due to the irresponsibility of politicians. The so-called “New parliamentary majority”, which, due to the lack of majority in the Club of the Bosniacs in the Federal House of Peoples, is unable to implement the envisaged changes, tried to use the extraordinary sessions, held in mid-February to dismiss the Government and deprive it of its jurisdiction until the election of the new Government. However, in mid-May, the Constitutional Court adjudged that the decisions by which the House of Representatives took over the Government’s jurisdictions were in contravention with the Constitution. On the other hand, they also tried to use the arresting and taking in custody of the president of BH Federation at the end of April (we would not like to elaborate on the motives of this case, because the appropriate institutions should have a final say in that), as a tool of political fight between the conflicting parties. However this failed too. Therefore, the deadlock or the status quo in which no change is possible and in which elementary democratic norms are disrespected on the one hand, and the rule of law degraded, continues. To the detriment of the citizens and the society on the whole.

The situation in which the Parliament of BH Federation found itself in the first half 2013 determined the manner of its work, so that 65% sessions that were held had a character of extraordinary sessions. As many as 7 of 10 sessions of the House of Representatives of FBiH Parliament that were held were extraordinary. And 4 of total of 7 sessions of the House of Peoples. We should add to this the fact that the 20th regular session of the House of Representatives of FBiH Parliament, the last during the analyzed semi-annual period, was held on the verge of the quorum. There is another indicative example: 14th regular session of the House of Peoples which was originally announced for December 2012, its first part was held in mid-March, and the final only at the beginning of June.

There was a significant improvement in performance in the second quarter, compared to the disastrous 1st quarter, in which the realization included only 8 measures approved in the House of Representatives and 4 in the House of Peoples. The performance of the House of Representatives in the second quarter was twice as good, as they approved 17 measures (of which 11 in one session only, held in April), while the House of Peoples had almost 8 times better performance – it approved 31 measures, as opposed to 4 that were approved in the 1st quarter. However, the final result is still very much negligible.

Besides the improvement of its performance, in the second quarter, the Federal Parliament is still the least efficient government institution in the country. After the initial period of successful work of both the Parliament and the Government, when almost all statistical data of work of FBiH Parliament showed a rising tendency, and when better results were accomplished compared to the RS NA, the break-up of the ruling coalition turned the FBiH Parliament again in the least efficient institution of the authorities in the country.

The main function of the Parliament – law-making – has been completely neglected. In the first half of 2013, we should remind, FBiH Parliament did not finally approve a single law. While the final result of the semi-annual work of the Parliament in 2013 was only a little better – in the first 6 months of 2013, the complete procedure of approval was finished for only 8 laws. Of which only 1 law is among those that were submitted for the parliamentary procedure in this year, while 7 other laws are the laws approved and submitted to the parliamentary procedure in the last year, however they were not implemented but passed on as an obligation in 2013. At the end of the first half-year 2013, 70 more laws were pending the parliament approval, i.e. the decision of both or one of the parliamentary houses.   

The results of voting on certain legal solutions in the first half-year, render the term ‘Parliamentary majority’ relative, because they were approved without the support of the old or the new proclaimed “Parliamentary majority’, by votes of a third ‘informal majority’ (composed of the parties that belong to both the first and the second majority, as well as of the parties that do not belong to either of them). The Law on Early More Advantageous Retirement of War Veterans from the Defense-Liberation War, that was discussed and approved in the sessions of both Houses of BH PA, held in mid-April, was supported in the House of Representatives by the members of the parties SDP BIH, SBB BIH, SzBiH, A-SDA, DNZ, HSP, NSRzB, as well as by independent MPs Spomenka Mičić and Safet Halilović, while the delegates from HDZ BiH voted against, the delegates from SDA were abstained and the delegates from HDZ 1990 left the Parliament hall before voting on the law; the SNSD member did not attend the session on that day. This problem is indicative of the known and perhaps the biggest problem of political life in BiH – that coalitions are not created on the basis of the parties’ programs, but as the mechanisms of coming to power at any cost, so that it turns out only later that the partners within the created coalition have different opinions on many significant things and cannot find a compromise solution.

Political games got in the way of the selection of the Constitutional Court judges too. On the other hand, the Government and the Parliament, by stalling the implementation of the decisions of the Constitutional court, have shown disrespect for the Court. Due to FBiH Parliament, among others, the Constitutional Court spent the entire first half year 2013 in incomplete composition. It was only in recent days that the conditions were met for its functioning in full composition (the Council for Protection of the Vital National Interest was finally established), which could help solve the long political crisis in FBiH. Unless it is too late already. We should remind that, in the context of the relations of FBiH Parliament and the Constitutional Court, the Expert Service sent a piece of information, in reference to non-implemented Decisions of the Constitutional Court, according to which there are 18 different decisions that FBiH Parliament was required to implement and failed to do it.

The Parliament does not show enough respect to the Auditing Office or its recommendations either. Although the FBiH Office for Auditing provided its qualified opinion, and the Parliamentary Commission in charge of audit organized hearings on that occasion in November 2012!, until now no report has been sent to the delegates and members of FBiH Parliament for discussion. And, among other, “the auditors found errors with the payments to the MPs and the delegates. About one million KM was spent as the compensation for expenses of 92 professional MPs in the House of Representatives and 45 professional MPs in the House of Peoples, although no records was kept of their attendance at work, so that there was no valid document based on which the payment was made.” In reference to that, we remind that CCI has been reminding for years already that … the Parliament has proven to be incompetent to deal with some technical problems and to implement its own decisions. The system of electronic voting that was very expensive is still out of function, due to which the public is deprived of the data on individual voting on discussed measures; on the other hand no efficient records is kept of the presence, i.e. absence of MPs or of their early leaving of the sessions.

Both Houses of Parliament violate the obligations laid down in the enactments governing their work. None of the Parliament Houses adopted the program of their work for 2013, although they were required to do it by the end of the last year. We should mention that the Secretariat of the House of Representatives started its work on time, that the working group for making of the draft was formed, but the whole job around making of the work program was stopped due to the political conflicts around replacement of the Government.

The inter-party conflicts bring into question the forms of expression of equality of constitutive peoples, guaranteed by the Constitution. Although the second half of the mandate of the current FBiH Parliament started a long ago, due to the failure of the political parties to reach the agreement, the position of the vice-president of the House of Peoples of FBiH Parliament is still vacant – this position should be filled from among the representatives of the Serbian people in the Delegates’ Club.

The only significant positive thing that happened in FBiH Parliament, during the observed period, is a unanimous acceptance of the Conclusions by which the Initiative for Starting the Process of Reforms of FBiH Constitution was accepted.  On 25 June 2013, the House of Representatives of FBiH Parliament held a session in broader composition that dealt with the initiative and recommendations for amending the FBiH Constitution, prepared and presented by the expert group formed by the USA Embassy in BiH. At the end of the discussion, the conclusions according to which the initiative for starting the process of reform of FBiH Constitution were unanimously accepted, and the Constitutional Commission of the House of Representatives was charged to conduct further procedure in accordance with its responsibilities. We can only hope that the Federal MPs are really aware of the importance of and the need for constitutional reform and that the time ahead will not once again prove that Churchill was right when he said his funny comment about the parliamentary commissions.

Disastrous results of the Federal Parliament cost the Federation citizens a lot of money. The biggest loss however is not because of the salaries that are way too high for what is by all standards a low performance of FBiH Parliament members and delegates. The biggest loss is in the consequences of such work, reflected in the gravity of the economic situation in the country, the number of unemployed and low level of life quality.  

Pessimism of “the International Community”.  The European Commission has published a report recently in which they expressed their big pessimism concerning a quick solution to the political crisis in BiH Federation. Without doubting that the expressed pessimism was founded, CCI expresses its hope that the final election of the members of the Council for the Protection of the Vital National Interest of FBiH Constitutional Court will be a step forward toward solving the political ‘soap opera’ that has been taking place in front of the public for more than a year. On the other hand, no matter how important it is – AND IT IS IMPORTANT! – to solve the concrete current crisis, it is far more important for constitutional changes to be started in the Federation, which should prevent occurrence of similar situations in the future. That is to say, the constitutional changes that will enable this entity to be functional in future, better organized, with political and administrative apparatus that will take less from the citizens of this country and give them more, and by which an efficient mechanism of solving conflict situations will be provided and blocking of the system disabled. Accepting the initiative to start the Constitutional changes by the FBiH Parliament is a positive signal in that direction. However, serious work on this issue is necessary, without delay. If no changes were to happen, and if we enter the new election cycle with the old solutions and with such a degree of political culture in the country, this means that a serious danger that another 4 years will be lost.

BH Federation Government

The political crisis in BiH Federation, in the center of which is the Government of the Federation, as a pivotal part of the conflict, has drastically reflected in its work.  The Federal Government , which received one of the best evaluations in the last 7 years, for the results in the first half of 2012 – in only one year almost completely hit the bottom, that is to say, received one of the worst evaluations according to a number of parameters.

• In the last 7 years no situation occurred as in the second quarter of 2013, that not a single regular session was held;

• In the last 7 years the Federal Government had fewer sessions only in 2008;

• Compared to the current year, the current Government implemented 439 measures more in the same period of the last year, i.e. this year’s result is by even 40% worse;

• In the first half 2013, the Government was in session 34 hours less compared to the worst result so far, in 2008, and almost 10 eight-hour working days less compared to the last year, i.e. 2012;

• In this year the Government approved even 28 bills less compared to the last year, which was 56% a drop of its performance. Speaking of the number of approved bills in the first half-year, in the last 7 years, the worst performance is related to the current Federation Government (in 2011 and in this year), as well as the best performance, in 2012;

• Finally, the worst performance in the last 7 years was in 2013, regarding the percentage of approval of the Parliament of the bills approved and submitted by the Government.

Lack political seriousness and irresponsible attitude toward its obligations are obvious from the way in which the Government worked in the observed period.  Waiting for the Constitutional Court to arbitrate in parties’ conflicts within the Government, the Federation Government worked with a very low intensity, whereby it frequently made decisions on important issues by telephone calls, that is to say, by holding the so-called telephone conferences. Of 21 sessions in the first half of this year, even 12 were extraordinary, i.e. telephone conferences and urgent, and with few items on the agenda, with only a few laws.

Government of the Federation is one of the most persistent institutions when it comes to breaching the Rules of Procedures. As long as the measures for punishing such practices are introduced, it will be normal for the Federal Government to work without a Work Program, not to submit its Report on Work, not to respect the obligations to develop a three-year strategic plans, etc. For the first time since 2009, when such a case was recorded, the Government of the Federation not ‘’only’’ is late as usual in adoption of the key documents for its work, but the entire first half of the 2013 it works without a verified annual work programme, which should also be, at the same time, the basis for writing reports on the work for the current year. In this way the Government violates several articles of its own Rules of Procedure, with the inconsistent enforcement of the ‘’Regulation on the process of strategic planning, annual planning and reporting in the Federal Ministries of 2011’’, (the Ministry of Internal Affairs is an exception with the published Work Plan for the year 2013). The Article 13 of the said Regulation defines how the Government of the BiH Federation is required to adopt the Report on the work of the Government for the previous year by February 10, comprising the individual reports on the work of ministries, which also was not done in the first half of the year 2013. (Again, the Ministry of Internal Affairs which published its report on work in 2012 on its official website is an exception). It is also said in the same Regulation that the ministries are required to create three-year strategic plans for the periods that will accompany the Documents of the framework budgets, and to publish these strategic plans on their websites. Not a single ministry among 16 ministries of the Government of the Federation of BIH has not published its three-year strategic work plan of the ministry.  

The situation remain particular bad when we talk about the implementation of the Law. During the half of the current year the Government of the Federation of BiH adopted only 22 laws, among which 6 the fundamental ones, and 16 amendments to the existing laws. Since creating laws makes sense only if they are adopted by the Parliament, it is important to point out that the Parliament adopted – just one of these 22 laws established by the Government during the first half of the year 2013. At the same time, that one law was also adopted under pressure from the IMF. The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister of the Federation of BiH stressed before the Parliament that the adoption of this law was a condition for the payment of the next tranche of the International Monetary Fund by the stand-by arrangement, and failing to do so would jeopardize the financial stability of the Federation and entire BiH.  

Analysis of the draft Work Programs of the Government leads to the question: is the awareness of their limitations and the lack of realism of the set plans a reason for not verifying that program, i.e. for working without a formalized plan? Analyzing not adopted Draft of the work programme of the Government for 2013 CCI came across the information that thereby, the Government planned to adopt 107 laws, which represented the most ambitious legislative plan in the last 8 years (whose successful realization would have been worth of all praise). But, ultimately, after the lapse of the first half of 2013, only 12 of 107 laws from the Draft of the work programme of the Government for 2013 were established, which would mean, if this plan had been verified, that the grade of efficiency of the Government in realization of the laws was only 11% (for the half year).  

The results of the several Ministries just fit into the gloomy picture of the entire work of the Federal Government during the first half of this year. After the lapse of the first trimester we recorded even 9 ministries which did not even implement 10 measures in the first 3 months of 2013 at the meeting of the Government of the Federation of BIH. And upon lapse of the first half of the current year we have 4 ministries with less than 10 implemented measures at the held meeting of the Federal Government (Ministry of Refugees and Displaced Persons, Ministry of Development, Entrepreneurship and Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Internal Affairs). In the second trimester the Ministry of Environment and Tourism made significant progress in this regard, while on the other hand the Ministry of Development, Entrepreneurship and Trade had complete stagnation at whose suggestion the Federal Government did not realize a single measure in the second trimester. The Ministry of Energy, Mining and Industry headed by the Minister Erdal Thulj which had the highest number of completed laws with respect to this year’s draft of the legislative plan stood out in the realization of the laws.

Decline of the efficiency of the Government, since the outbreak of the crisis in the middle of the last year, and its total disorientation, leave deeper and deeper consequences on lives of the citizens of BH Federation, and the country as a whole.  In coordination of the Government and the Parliament of the Federation of BIH, failure to adopt the annual work programme of the Government, work of the Government through holding emergency sessions, political conflicts of the parties and individuals within the Government crowned with lawsuits, only one law adopted in the Parliament from the low number of established laws by the Government in the first half of the current year, the absolute dependence of the financial stability of the Federation on the foreign loans, etc. only further illustrate how the activities of the Federal Government are not oriented towards solving the urgent problems of the citizens, primarily with the aim of reducing unemployment and creating fundamentally different economic and social environment. Among 650 measures adopted at the meetings of the Government of F BIH in the first half of the current year we record only 17 of them which can have long-term and systematic impact on the resolving the urgent problems of the citizens such as unemployment, extreme poverty, corruption, poor health, welfare and pension policy, accumulated problems of the young, and so on and it they would be adequately implemented in practice in the future, because they are legal and strategic solutions. Statistics show us that in the month of May of the current year with respect to January, in the Federation of BIH the number of unemployed people was reduced for 3,817 person, but more detailed analyses of a longer period show us that since the beginning of the term of the current Government in Federation the number of unemployed people increased by as much as 16,258 people – an average of 625 of newly unemployed in the lists every month. In addition, in the Draft of the work programme for 2013 there is not even a special chapter describing the unemployment problem in BiH and providing a clear course of action and indicators of success in the current year on this burning issue. And one of the potentially important laws – the Law on Mediation in Employment and Rights during Unemployment – is scheduled for adoption by the Government, by the end of the year 2013, only in the form of a draft.

Political blocking of the institutions prevents any kind of improvement of quality of life of citizens. On one hand we have a dysfunctional Government, preoccupied with the conflict between the two incompatible blocks with it, on the other hand, we have a blockage within the Parliament and those measures passed by the Government while it was functional and which could result in certain improvements if they were implemented. More than two-thirds of the enactments of laws, namely, are awaiting in the parliamentary procedures, and the citizens cannot feel any positive effects from them. At the same time the implementation of the adopted strategies depends precisely on the pace of the established new law and by-law measures in the target areas. With all this, in addition to financial stability, the coordination between cantonal and federal level is also constantly questioned, which is another serious problem faced by the Federation of BiH.

Republic of Srpska Government

In the second quarter 2013, the work of the Government led by the Prime Minister was intensified. In the first half of 2013 the Government held 9 regular sessions under the leadership of former prime minister Aleksandar Dzombic, and 17 regular, 10 working-consultative sessions, 3 telephone sessions and one extraordinary session, headed by the RS prime minister Zeljka Cvijanovic, who took office in mid March. In the first half 2013, 1462 measures were discussed by the RS Government.

The RS Government continued its partial non-compliance with its own Rules of Procedure governing its work. This shows a need for a more precise defining of individual responsibilities and penalties for such a behavior. According to the Rules of Procedure of the RS Government, the Work Program for the next year should be approved by the Government by the end of the current year. However, the Proposed Program of Work of the RS Government for 2013 was approved only on 21 February 2013, which is even a longer delay compared to the one from the last year. Having in mind the procedure for approval of the work program, besides the Government, the responsibility for this is also with the NA and it is high time that these two institutions solve this problem and eliminate the occurrence of this gap, due to which some precious time is wasted.

The degree of realization of the measures planned for the RS Government has been significantly improved in the second quarter compared to the first quarter, when the realization was below 50%. Thanks to that, the final result of realization of legislative activities planned for the first 6 months of 2013 has been, for BH conditions, a decent 72%. Namely, during the period 01 January to 30 June 2013, the RS Government approved all 12 planned draft laws as well as 32 of planned 49 proposals of laws.

Improved efficiency in terms of the realization of laws has not, however, solved the most significant problem faced by the Republic of Srpska citizens when it comes to the Government. The most important problem that the Republic of Srpska citizens have with the Government, which is also a situation inherited from the previous RS Government, has to do with the Government’s inadequate selection of work priorities and the lack of courage to face the most serious problems and to more decisively start the necessary reforms. Since 2008 already, CCI has been warning that not even good work efficiency would bring the good results in lives of RS citizens, because the goals were not appropriately set, that is to say, because the authorities were not focused on solving the vital problems of their citizens. Of total number of issues discussed in the first half of 2013, only 15% have something to do with the most vital problems faced by RS citizens, and only 2.3% have a capacity of more significantly influencing the quality of citizens’ lives. This is even below the results from the first quarter. However, we should mention one positive thing that was promised in the prime minister’s Report, which is that during this time period, the RS Government approved the Strategy of Fighting Corruption as well as a set of laws for improving the business environment. Certainly, in both cases this relates only to creating pre-conditions for a serious work, but whether something is going to come out of it these documents will remain only ‘ a dead letter’ , only the time will show.

Following the practice of the usual behaviour of political elites in BiH, which implies too high public spending, avoiding of reforms, failure in attracting foreign capital so necessary for the economic recovery, the RS authorities have been trying to make up for this fact by taking more and more loans, with completely uncertain consequences. The RS budget for 2013 has been increased compared to the reprogrammed budget from 2012 by 135 million KM, provided from the new credit funds from IMF. The RS finance minister himself, Zoran Tegeltija, in his opening speech on the occasion of the 2013 budget approval was not at all optimistic: “None of the measures implemented in order to accelerate the economic growth and solving the debt crisis have given the expected results yet…” To this we should add the information that the total RS debt (including different levels of authorities, funds, etc.) totals to 4.6 billion KM and that it is higher than the Federation debt, which, considering the number of population of these two entities, makes the indebtedness of RS citizens almost twice as high as the indebtedness of the Federation citizens. That debt represents 53.7% of GDP, which means that the RS is one step away from being overindebted. Something that is the most worrying is the structure of that debt, because a share of the economy (business) in it is only 10.5%.

Additional problem is posed by the fact that so far the RS Government has not accepted appeals from the Republic of Srpska Trade Union and the Confederation of Unions or the Union of Businessmen to restore the non-taxable part on salaries in order to alleviate the functioning of companies, nor there has been any decrease of fiscal duties levied on the economy.

4 Ministries are proponents of 40% of all the measures discussed by the Government, while the remaining 12 Ministries have proposed 60% of measures. Having analyzed the sessions of RS Government, we can see that the Finance Ministry, Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Water Management and the Ministry of Education and Culture carry the biggest burden in the sessions of RS Government and that they are the proponents of 40% of all discussed measures. On the other hand, the Ministry for Refugees and Displaced Persons, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Trade and Tourism are the ministries with the lowest level of activities in the RS Government sessions.  

As for the laws, the Finance Ministry was the busiest Ministry in the first half of 2013, as it had an obligation to work on 22 laws, either in the form of proposal or drafts. Of that 16 were approved, and 6 more unplanned laws were additionally prepared. On the other hand, in the first half of 2013, as many as 8 Ministries of the RS Government approved only 1 law each or none.

Republic of Srpska National Assembly

In the first half 2013 the Republic of Srpska National Assembly showed considerably higher performance compared to the same period of the last year. In the first 6 months of 2013, the delegates spent 25 working days in session, which is by even 65% (i.e. 9 days) more than the time spent in the sessions in the first 6 months of 2012. In these sessions 141 items of the agenda were discussed, which is again by 40% more compared to the results in the first half of the last year. However, speaking of these comparisons, one should have in mind that this situation is only coming back to 'the normal', because in the first 6 months of 2012 almost all work parameters sustained a serious fall.

The scope of the planned measures of RS NS in 2013 remained at the last-year level.  In accordance with the legislative part of the Work Program for 2013, which was not approved until mid-February, the National Assembly undertook to approve 83 laws, which is only by 2 laws more compared to the plan for 2012 – the latter was however by 20% lower compared to the penultimate year, i.e. 2011. And if we compare it with the plan from 2007, which included as many as 147 laws, we can see that it has almost been halved.

Besides a very modest volume of work, its realization, especially in the legislative part, is not satisfactory – finally not even a half of the laws the realization of which was planned for the first half 2013 have been approved. Of 54 laws the approval of which was planned for the first half of 2013, only 26 have been finally realized. 13 more laws were approved in the form of draft and submitted for further procedure.

Insufficient realization of legislative activities is the most obvious when we compare the first 6 months of 2013 and the whole of 2012 with the realization in 2011. Namely, in 2011, 69 planned laws were approved, and in 2012 - 42, i.e. 26 less – and this is exactly the number of the laws that were in the semi-annual work plan for 2013 and approved by 30 June 2013.  So, we can see such a fall of the productivity which shows that it took the NA one year and a half for something that had been done in 2011 in one year.

Comparisons between the entities' parliaments show the advantage of the RS – due to a long-term political crisis in the Federation, its Parliament was the least efficient institution among the BH authorities, compared to which utterly modest results achieved by the RSNA seem significant, although they objectively are not.   In the first half of 2013, RS NA approved 30 bills, including the unplanned laws, while the Federal Parliament, during the same time, approved only eight. However, this comparison is merely a comparison of an averagely efficient institution with an inefficient institution.

Transparency of RS NA is at much higher level than that of the Government. Minutes of the meetings, deputies' questions, announcements, etc. are regularly posted on the institution’s website. One of the more serious objections, as it was the case in all previous years, concerns the lack of TV coverage of Assembly session, because the citizens are deprived of the full information about what is going on in the Assembly as well as about personal engagement of their representatives in it.

We could see some very significant deputies’ initiatives during this time period. On this occasion we would like to underline the initiative of the MP Vukota Govedarica, who submitted the draft Law on Investigating the Origin of Property to the parliamentary procedure which was then accepted by the RS NA. The initiative was well accepted in the public, and now, after the public debate, we are waiting to see what the final solution of the law and voting in the NS will look like. But as of yet, we have no indications that this is really going to happen.


The campaign „Budget to the People“. The training for the representatives of NGOs and the media „Public Finances and Analysis of the Budget in BiH“ was held at the beginning of July. The project is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in BiH.  More…  

A detail from the training on public finances and budgets in BiH

The lecturers included Faruk Hujic from the consulting company Innova, Dario Jovanovic and Ivan Vasic, who represented CCI. 10 representatives of NGOs and the media from East and South BiH successfully passed the training. A similar training will be held at the beginning of September for NGOs and the media from North and Central BiH. Training attendants will be provided necessary knowledge to be able to independently understand and analyze the budgets of their local communities as well as of higher authorities levels. This will be also presented on the project website www.budzetnarodu.ba

In mid July, on the premises of FBiH Parliament building, CCI organized the public debate on draft FBiH Law on Budgets, approved and forwarded to the parliamentary procedure by FBiH Government. The public debate gathered more than 40 representatives of finance ministries and finance departments of federal, cantonal and municipal authorities, the members of relevant parliamentary commissions, representatives of non-governmental and international organizations, experts and the media. Alija Aljovic, assistant to FBiH finance minister , Goran Mirscic, a consultant of FBiH's prime minister and Adis Arapovic, CCI's project manager gave preliminary presentations. The purpose of organizing the public debate was to start a discussion on the new Law on Budgets, before its debating in the Parliament, and ensuring the support of the relevant commission and of the parliamentary majority necessary for passing the Law before it is debated in the Parliament. At the end of July already, both FBiH Parliament houses supported this Draft, so that a set of amendments that should improve the legal elements dealing with the transparency and participatory nature of policies and budgeting procedures was forwarded to the Finance Ministry by the CCI.

A detail from the Public Debate on the Draft FBiH Law on Budget.

The project „Budget“ has a goal to contribute to a better understanding of the budgeting policy in BiH, in order to make the budgeting process more simple and more comprehensible/accessible to the public and citizens. Also, the project aims at proposing and representing the relevant and effective measures for the improvement of public budgeting policies, increasing the transparency of the budgeting process and increasing participation in the process of budget making at all levels of authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A comprehensive financial and legislative analysis of the budget of all four authorities levels (BiH, RS, FBiH, Sarajevo Canton) and of three local budgets (Tuzla, Banja Luka and Mostar) was carried out at the early stage of the project. The legislative analysis aims at showing the budgeting process through valid BH legislation, the deficiencies that exist in this field and at providing relevant and effective proposals for improvement of legislation and public budgeting processes. The financial analysis presents a detailed overview of 7 selected budgets for 4 authorities’ levels, according to COFOG public consumption analysis.


As part of the Project „Fighting Corruption in Public Sector“, financed by the European Union, the Centres for Civic Initiatives established a Working Group. This group has a task to develop integrity plans for target institutions of public health in BiH, i.e. for Health Insurance Institutes/Funds and Health Ministries. The first meeting of the Working Group was held in Sarajevo at the end of June this year. More...

In order to design the Integrity Plans, a Work Group was formed, composed of the representatives of target health institutions, BiH Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APIK), CCI and the representatives of three OCDs active in the field of fighting corruption. By adopting the mentioned anti-corruption measures these health institutions should become pilot-institutions and a role mode for all other state institutions in BiH, and not only in the health sector.
The first meeting of the Working Group was held in Sarajevo, on 24 June 2013 on the premises of the Health Insurance Institution of Canton Sarajevo. The Working Group members were informed about the APIK's activities, the obligations of BiH on the road to European integrations concerning anti-corruption and generally about the importance of improvements of this field in our country. All representatives of target health institutions gave their full support to the activities of CCI and APIK and undertook the obligation to carry out all the activities to adopt the Integrity Plans in the forthcoming period, as the most important mechanisms for prevention of corruptive actions.  
During the period after the first meeting of the Working Group, CCI, together with the representatives of APIK worked on designing a universal draft of the Integrity Plan, as a starting basis to be subsequently adjusted by each institution according to its own needs and in accordance with the specific characteristics of its work. The integrity plans will contain parts common for all institutions (working processes susceptible to corruption that every institution has, e.g. public procurements, employment, staff management, managing the documentation, management of the institution, etc.), and the parts specific for each of them (e.g. control and settlement of the bills for health services, waiting lists, records of the drugs dispensed to the insured persons, essential drug lists, etc.). In the first stage the representatives of target institutions will carry out internal research and surveys of the employees in their institutions in order to obtain „vulnerable point map“ that would be a starting point for all other activities. After that, the second stage would include determining specific measures that would deal with such points, and appointing responsible persons for the implementation of these measures. The last stage is monitoring the implementation of the Integrity Plan, reporting on the results and proposing measures for its improvement.   
In parallel to the activities related to the designing of anti-corruption acts, CCI starts the public campaign focusing on the citizens as users of healthcare services. The goal of this public campaign is to highlight the problem of pronounced corruption in BH society, deficiencies in the system of prevention and in punishing corruptive practices, as well as to underline possible mechanisms that can help preventive fights against this social plague. One of the ways to send a message to the citizens will be by broadcasting 3 documentary films that will clearly and directly present a situation in BiH society, more precisely, corruption in the health sector. The documentary films will combine an interview of the civil society representatives dealing with anti-corruption, representatives of public institutions, data obtained by studying the citizens' perception on corruption in health sector, and citizens' statements as well as their perception and views concerning corruption in the health sector. Making of the first film that will present an introductory story on the problem of corruption in BH health sector is currently underway. The film will present what the survey on the citizens' perception on corruption in BiH has shown, how corruption in the health sector is seen by the representatives of the civil sector who have been dealing with it for years, and how it is perceived by ordinary citizens.


Since the beginning of the year, CCI has been implementing the project „Improvement of the Efficiency of Public Services Active in Employment“, supported by EU. The goal of the project is to advocate reforms in the field of employment and especially to amend the existing legislative defining the work of the public services working on employment (PSEs). In order to increase the responsibility and efficiency of PSEs, CCI uses this project to carry out monitoring of work of the said institutions, their policies and practices.  More...

Since the beginning of the campaign a  cooperation was established with the entities' employment bureaus and labour ministries, and after forming of the mixed Working Group at the beginning of June, the work on drafting the analysis of policies in the employment field was completed. The analysis was presented to the expert public in Sarajevo and Banja Luka during the month of June, so that the relevant comments, objections and suggestions could be received. On this occasion the public was also presented the first Quarterly Report on Monitoring the Work of PSEs in BiH, as well as the project website www.posaonarodu.ba. The final text of the analysis with the recommendations in the field of employment policies will be completed in August and presented to the public in September.


Details from the presentation of the draft analysis in Sarajevo and Banja Luka.

One of the considerations in the draft analysis includes the analysis of financial efficiency of PSEs. The Analysis has shown that the Federal Employment Bureau (FEB) was extremely burdened with appeals based on the Law on Rights of Demobilized Veterans that was in force during the period 2006-2010. In cooperation with the FEB, CCI organized a round table in order to bring this issue to the public's attention and to initiate the solution at the level of FBiH Parliament. With the participation of more than 50 representatives of all PSEs in FBiH, a number of Federal Ministries, Parliamentary commissions, NGOs, international organizations and the media, an initiative for holding a separate thematic session of FBiH Parliament on employment and problems faced by PSEs was brought at the round table.


A detail from the round table in Sarajevo


A way to better local authorities and an efficient local community in BH Federation has been paved. The BH Federation Government has approved the Law on Amendments to the Law on Principles of Local Self-Governance and submitted it for parliamentary procedure with incorporated comments by civil society (CCI and DON). These are the activities of the project New Local Community for New Local Governance in BiH wich is financial support by the European Union Delegation in BiH. More...

Informative stands and collecting signatures for the Initiative for amendments to the Law on Local Self-Governance in FBiH were organized by CCI in May, in cooperation with its partner organizations. We were supported by more than 2.500 citizens of FBiH.  This activity has surely contributed to a more efficient work of FBH Government and resulted in approving the proposal of the amendments to the law.   

This is only a half way to better and more efficient local authorities in FBiH. CCI’s work does not stop there. Monitoring the work of BH Federation Parliament is one of the CCI’s regular activities, which will enable us to have a clear overview of the movement of this law proposal and to react, if necessary, in order for this Law to be approved and for the citizens to finally have efficient local governance, the one that they deserve.


The Centres for Civic Initiatives have been working for a number of years already on the affirmation of the old and introduction of new mechanisms for participation of citizens in decision-making processes at the local level. These activities are undertaken as part of the project „Local Governance for the Quality of Life of Citizens – Phase 2“, financed by the European Union.  Something that is interesting and very important is a question what is the level of citizens' inclusion during creation of the local budget. The introduction of the practice of the so-called prior public debates could restore citizens' trust in decision making processes and budgeting. This could be done as early as in June of this year, for the next fiscal year. More...

Currently all the municipalities/cities covered by this project have public debates during the period of budget approval. Such public debates enable the citizens to present their proposals about the draft budget. This possibility is guaranteed under local governance unit by-laws, with the time period for public debates ranging from 15 days in Trebinje to 45 days in Tuzla. Public debates are usually organized shortly before the budget approval. The purpose of such public debates is to enable the citizens to express their needs and problems, the solution to which requires spending money.

Public debates can be organized in a number of ways: by organizing meetings with citizens in local communities, organizing round tables and panels, interviewing citizens, receiving citizens' requests and proposals by email, presenting budgets to the public on the media, etc. Currently the public debates are organized in all municipalities mainly according to the same principle, by inviting citizens to municipal hall premises where a brief outline is presented to them, in a language that is incomprehensible to them, and then the citizens are given an opportunity to present their proposals, which unfortunately rarely end up being incorporated in the budget itself. The main disadvantage of such public debates is in that the citizens are introduced to the already designed draft of the entire budget, which, from that point of view and in such a form mainly remains unclear to ordinary citizens.  

As the quality of citizens’ life in a local community is essentially dependent upon the allocation of the budget funds, the budget should be transparent, but not only in the sense of organizing public debates that only fulfill certain obligation and form, but by giving enough time to citizens to prepare their proposals. Such a practice, if introduced, would help restore the already shaken citizens' trust in local authorities and their genuine rather than formal inclusion in decision-making process.

In July this year a survey was undertaken by the Centers for Civic Initiatives on the existing mechanisms of citizens' inclusion in budget creation, as well as on the need for introduction of the so-called 'additional public debate'.  The survey included 258 representatives of LCs' councils and 130 representatives of NGOs. According to the results of the survey, about a half of the respondents regularly participate in the public debates organized on the occasion of budget creation, while only 5% of them said that the proposals made in the public debates got actually incorporated in the budget every time. Even 80% of them believe that it is necessary to introduce additional term for the public debate during an early stage of budget planning.

As the Novo Sarajevo Municipality has already introduced some novelties regarding the inclusion of citizens in budget creation, this practice will serve as a good example. Something that is commendable is that this municipality offers more good examples such as organizing of public debate during the approval of Municipal Council Work Plan, and this can certainly serve as a good example to other municipalities too.

One of the ways to improve the local budgeting policy is by „participatory budgeting“. This sort of budgeting takes place more and more frequently as a model of citizens' inclusion in deciding on spending priorities and as a model that encourages the development of poorer countries. According to this model, the local governance spending priorities are directly discussed between the representatives of local authorities and representatives of citizens. Besides, the model of participatory budgeting contributes to a higher social justice through improved allocation of funds and increased efficiency and effectiveness of the work of local institutions. In our case, this would be organized by introducing an additional public debate between 15 May and 15 June, where the representatives of the local governance, i.e. the representatives of an appropriate Assembly body (committee/board) would discuss the priorities for the local governance spending, i.e. a part of the budget intended to development projects. That would facilitate citizens' inclusion in the budget making, because only the part of the budget relating to the projects would be presented in the meeting, that is to say, only the funds available for such purposes would be discussed and the citizens would be given an opportunity to influence their allocation.

In September 2013 CCI plans to organize 4 round tables on the subject „Improving the Local Budgeting Policy“. The representatives of LCs, NGOs, and of the local governance will be invited to participate in these round tables. Their goal is to familiarize the local authorities’ representatives with the problems in this field, and to identify possible solutions – introduction of early public debates in the process of planning local budgets.


At the end of 2012 CCI launched an initiative for passing of a new Law on Games of Chance in BH Federation, which should ensure more money for meeting the needs of the most disadvantaged population categories. Due to the fact that 50% of the income collected from the games of chance will be used as humanitarian, social and development support, the campaign is marked by a slogan „Half of the Luck to Others“. The project is supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy - German Marshall Fund of the US. More…

In the first half of 2013, in cooperation with the Federal Finance Ministry, the text of the Law was prepared, approved in the form of draft in June by FBiH Government. In mid-July CCI organized a street action in order to inform the public about the advantages brought by the new Law, and to make a public pressure on the members of the Parliament to support passing of the Law. At the end of July, the draft Law on Games of Chance was approved in the House of Representatives of FBiH Parliament, and a 60-day public debate was opened, so that we can expect the final text of the Law to be debated in the parliament in autumn.