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“Romania is ready to get involved in important projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whether we are talking about infrastructure, tourism development or the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s hydropower capacities,” Basescu said in a press statement after meeting the Bosnian President. A bilateral agreement of economic cooperation prepared by the two countries’ economy ministries was signed in the presence of the two heads of state. The document was signed on behalf of the Romanian side by economy minister Varujan Vosganian. Basescu pointed out that in the relationship with Bosnia and Herzegovina “a rapid process of revising bilateral agreements and of putting them in agreement with EU regulations” should be considered. “It’s possible we will take new steps in economic cooperation, but also in political relations. We signed the economic development agreement in order to accelerate the exchange of goods and possible Romanian investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” President Radmanovic stated in his turn. He pointed out that Romania is a friend, reminding of its military contribution to the stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bilateral trade totalled USD 142.7 M in 2011, of which USD 114.8 M were Romanian exports consisting mainly of cars and means of transportation. In June 2008 Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union but did not receive the statute of candidate country. Traian Basescu said that he “completely” supports Bosnia and Herzegovina in starting its accession negotiations with the European Union, but only if the Bosnian authorities’ commitments to the Copenhagen political criteria are met. He added that the experience of Romania’s EU accession shows the fact that any commitment taken before the European Commission has to be respected. “Whether the problem concerns the process of amending the Constitution, or other elements concerning the rule of law, these obligations have to be respected.
I presented to him our own experience when we thought that commitments are sufficient and then we realized a commitment becomes an obligation that can no longer be cancelled or postponed in the relationship with the European Union,” Basescu pointed out. In this context he referred to the joint letter that European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule and EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton sent to the Bosnian authorities in February, a letter concerning the fact that the main obligations included in the roadmap assumed by Sarajevo in June 2012 have not been fulfilled. Basescu expressed Romania’s openness to practically share with the Bosnian authorities its institutional experience on negotiating the EU accession. “I stated that Romania supports the open doors policy both for NATO and the European Union, considering that securing the Balkans is an element of national security for Romania. We all remember how difficult it was for us and how far away from Romania investors stood during the conflict in Yugoslavia for example,” Basescu stated, being quoted by Mediafax. During the press conference that took place at the Presidential Palace, Nebojsa Radmanovic ventured the possible deadline of “five to six years” for his country’s EU accession after the actual start of negotiations.
Traian Basescu pointed out that this period “is realistic on condition Sarajevo respects the commitments it took before the European Commission.” Nebojsa Radmanovic thanked Romania for being one of his country’s friends and deemed President Basescu’s advice “useful,” informing him on the current situation in his country. Nevertheless, he added that “a mood of scepticism towards the European Union could appear” among his country’s citizens “if the accession tarries.”