Citizens and authorities for a more efficient employment system

Decision makers in BiH expressed their commitment to a continued dialogue on the path toward the European Union, and implementation of recommendations made by civil society in the field of labour and employment, as presented during today's session of the „Citizens for Europe“ initiative in Sarajevo.

Members of the civil society and authorities were addressed by the association's sponsor, EU Special Representative in BiH, Mr. Valentin Inzko. He pointed out that economic reforms are key to job creation and that „it is high time to end the political stall and bring the country back to implementation of these reforms, as the highest political priority“. Inzko stressed that citizens of BiH, whether from the RS or Federation BiH, in the cities and in small communities, want to work. „They are asking for decent employment conditions and decent salaries“ said Inzko, adding that BiH Socio-Economic Council should be established as soon as possible in order to facilitate implementation of reforms in this field.

Mr. Nedeljko Masleša, Assistant Director at the BiH Directorate for European Integration, addressed the meeting on behalf of this institution. He pointed that BiH's European integrations are actually the reform process itself, and that reforms in the labour and employment sector, especially when it comes to social welfare and health care, are an absolute priority. „It is important for us to know that the pace in which a country makes steps toward the EU is very relevant“, Masleša said, adding that, according to the latest EC reports, BiH is at the start of the reform process.

Member of the labour and employment group, as part of the Citizens for Europe Initiative, Amil Kamenica, thanked the attending government representatives for taking part in the discussion, thereby demonstrating their willingness to start the reform process decisevely. He pointed to the key recommendations made by the civil society to the decision makers, including, among other, reform of the employment policy by separating active and passive job seekers, harminizing of the contribution rates between FBiH and RS, and re/moving administration of health insurance from employment bureaus, which is what representatives of bureaus agree with.

During the discussion, representatives of responsible institutions at the state and entity level, and Brčko District of BiH supported the recommendations made by civil society. Representative of the Labour and Employment Board of the FBiH Parliament stated that the Board will focus on these recommendations, and will work together with the FBiH Parliament on the project of youth employment, so as to separate passive and active job seekers. CSO's project for improvement of active labour market, implemented in cooperation with the entity ministires, was noted as a positive example, as well as preparation of documents for improvement of health insurance records for the unemployed.

The Citizens for Europe Initiative gathers 38 civil society organisations working to promote the process of BiH's getting closer to the European Union. The Initiative is implemented under the auspices of the EUSR, with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Agency, and in cooperation with the DEI BiH.