SARAJEVO, March 15 Bosnia risks losing tens of
millions of euros for energy projects from the European Union
unless it passes a gas law to comply with the bloc's energy
regulations, the Balkan country's economy minister warned on
The Energy Community, an international body established by
the EU and eight aspiring member states to extend the bloc's
energy policy to would-be members, set the end-March deadline
for Bosnia to pass the long-delayed law, which was drafted by
Bosnia's ministry of foreign trade and economic relations.
Bosnia, which is divided in two autonomous regions - the
Serb Republic and the Bosniak-Croat Federation which are linked
via a weak central government - does not have an energy ministry
at the state level but only at the level of its two regions.
Mirko Sarovic, the Bosnian foreign trade and economic
relations minister, said the regions, which should approve the
bill and then harmonise their own gas laws with it, had failed
to give their opinion on the legislation so far.
"The alarm is set and the country risks losing tens of
millions of euros in EU funds for energy sector projects,"
Sarovic told reporters.
Since the 1992-95 Bosnian war, policymaking has been hostage
to a complex system of power-sharing, based on ethnic quotas,
slowing the adoption of myriads of laws and regulations needed
for the country to catch up with the European mainstream.
The Bosnian Serbs insist on keeping their broad autonomy and
strongly oppose any future transfer of power to the state.
"The Bosnian people are held hostage by the energy elite and
end up paying the highest price for gas in the whole of Europe,"
the Energy Community said in its latest report.
The Balkan country relies on Russian supplies via Ukraine,
Hungary and Serbia to get some 350 million cubic metres of gas
that it needs annually and is looking at ways to diversify gas
networks to reduce dependence on Russia.
(Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Daria Sito-Sucic and Mark