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Bosnian Serbs Refuse Reform Program Demanded By EU

Bosnian Serb leaders have refused to sign a reform program demanded by the European Union as part of a plan to speed up Bosnia-Herzegovina's joining the bloc, prompting the EU enlargement commissioner to cancel a visit to Sarajevo.

The European Union launched a new strategy for Bosnia in December in an effort to revive the Balkan country's stalled bid for a membership.

Bosnia's development has been stifled by a highly decentralized postwar system of government that divided power along ethnic lines and spawned huge networks of political patronage.

The governments at all levels of Bosnia's complex system were expected to sign a draft reform agenda by June 10, and then seal it with EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn on June 11.

But the Bosnian Serbs on June 10 rejected the reform program, complaining they were not directly involved in drafting it.

In reaction, Hahn canceled his visit and urged the Bosnian Serb government to follow in the steps of the central government and the government of the Bosniak-Croat Federation, which signed the agenda.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP