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Brussels accuses Bosnian politicians after EU talks collapse

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Brussels accused Bosnian politicians on Tuesday after negotiations on the Balkan country's bid to join the EU collapsed over the implementation of a key European Court of Human Rights' ruling.

"The result of last night's meeting of the parties' leaders on implementation of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the Sejdic and Finci case was so deeply disappointing," Fuele told reporters in Sarajevo.

"I have therefore concluded my efforts on this issue, I didn't fail. Your politicians did," he said.

The sticking point centres on a case which went before the ECHR in 2009.

Then, Dervo Sejdic, a member of Bosnia's Roma community and Jakob Finci, a Bosnian Jew, challenged the law that only Bosnians, Serbs or Croats can be elected to senior state and legislative positions.

The Strasbourg-based court backed Sejdic and Finci and said that Bosnia's constitution was discriminatory against Roma, Jews and other minorities in political life.

Under Bosnian attempts to become a member of the 28-nation European Union, Brussels has called on Sarajevo to change its constitution to allow minorities to be able to run for office.

However, leaders of the three main ethnic groups have failed to reach a compromise over the issue, insisting on linking it to other reforms, such as changes to the country's presidency, which is held by a Bosnian, Serb and Croat at the same time for a four-year period.

As a result of the deadlock, Brussels, in December, halved its financial aid to Bosnia in 2013 from 87 to 42 million euros ($120 to 58 million).

Bosnia is lagging behind all other Balkan countries on its path towards membership in the EU.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140218/brussels-accuses-bosnian-politicians-after-eu-talks-collapse