European integration and NATO membership are very important to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina; they are two main foreign policy goals and an important pillar for stability in the Balkans for the economic development of the region, the Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said in Bucharest on Thursday.
“From the very beginning, I want to thank Mrs Prime Minister (…) for support. Support for integration with the European Union is very important to Bosnia and Herzegovina… We in the Western Balkans use the notion of integration, instead of enlargement of the Western Balkans, because geographically speaking we are also part of Europe, and hence our use of the word. We discussed some important priorities to our co-operation, and also to the Western Balkans and our European perspective. We emphasis preserving freedom and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a region of the Western Balkans is a step forward towards the democratisation of our society. The fight against crime and extremism is also important; economic growth is important, the Berlin process is important to us, which is an important goal. We talked about infrastructure connection, because it is very important to economic development, the development of the region, to the connectivity of the young people, and I mentioned that these are important steps forward in the integration of the Western Balkans with the European Union,” Zvizdic said on Thursday at a joint news conference with Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.
He added that during the talks he presented to Dancila the progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina over the last four years with European integration.
“We were a credible partner to the EU in all our planned activities, culminating with the submission of our answers to the European Commission questionnaire containing 450 questions; our answer was 25,000-page large. What is most important is that Bosnia and Herzegovina over the last 4 years has done a very good job, just like the Western Balkan countries when they were granted the EU candidate country status. We respect all the procedures, we look forward to receiving a positive opinion from the European Commission and we hope that Bosnia and Herzegovina will be given the status of a candidate country. (…) We are pleased with the progress made by our neighbours; I am convinced that both Albania and [North] Macedonia have to start negotiations, but we are convinced that Bosnia and Herzegovina should receive this candidate country status. European integration and NATO membership are very important to our future, are two main purposes when it comes to foreign policy; they are an important pillar for stability in the Balkans, for economic development (…) to stop the departure of young people from the Western Balkans and the region. That is why we want to have a dialogue that will contribute to the development of stability in the region and we are convinced that we will continue to respect the internationally recognised borders in the Western Balkans. We will also respect the agreements signed with our neighbours, Croatia and Serbia,” Zvizdic said.
The Bosnian Prime Minister said that as far as bilateral economic co-operation go, discussions indicated that there is a wide area for co-operation in various fields, such as energy, metallurgy, automotive, agriculture, IT, innovation, research, education and tourism.
About tourism, Zvizdic pointed out that there is a rapid development of the sector, with the prospect of flights between Bucharest and Sarajevo.
“Co-operation at this moment does not reflect the potential that exists (…). We agreed to develop this co-operation, to hold forums to include the chambers of commerce of our countries,” said Zvizdic.
PM Dancila: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s success in European accession process contributes to stability of Western Balkans
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s success in the European accession process contributes to the stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans and the European Union as a whole, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said on Thursday at a meeting she had with the Prime Minister of this country, Denis Zvizdic.
Discussions focused on the current status of the bilateral relations, the chances for Bosnia and Herzegovina to gain the status of a candidate state for European Union membership this year, regional policy.
“The continuation of the EU enlargement process with our partners in the Western Balkans represents a priority of the Romanian presidency of the Council of EU, because we are certain this successful policy of the Union is the only one that can guarantee the edification of a safe and prosperous region, which will contribute to the development and strengthening of the European project. We want the entire region to make progresses on their own merit and to meet the accession criteria. Our approach is to see the objectives established through the conclusions of the Council of June 2018, when the EU reaffirmed its commitment in what concerns its enlargement policy, materialize,” said Viorica Dancila, at the press conference she held jointly with Denis Zvizdic.
She reiterated Romania’s determination, while holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, to further support a positive decision in what concerns Bosnia and Herzegovina’s objective to gain the status of a candidate for EU membership.
The Romanian head of the Executive also reiterated to her counterpart that the Bucharest authorities remain committed to offering any necessary political and technical assistance in strengthening dialogue with the European institutions.
“I assured my colleague of Bosnia and Herzegovina that my country’s success contributes, in our view, to the stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans, and also of the European Union as a whole,” said Dancila.
The two sides also noticed a “significant” improvement in bilateral trade exchanges in the past couple of year, and also that there is still enough potential for strengthening economic relations between the two states further on.
“We agreed on the need to better promote the opportunities offered by our economies to the business milieu in the two countries. We agreed especially on strengthening bilateral collaboration in the energy field, domestic affairs, social security, environment protection, tourism, education and culture. We discuss in this context about energy security in our region, which is of a capital importance for the stability and prosperity of South-East Europe. We have analyzed together the bilateral legal framework and agreements facing different stages of negotiation, while voicing hope that there will be signed as soon as possible at ministerial level and I am confident that their conclusion will support our common goal of further strengthening bilateral cooperation,” said the Romanian official.
Viorica Dancila specified that discussions also focused on educational, cultural and scientific cooperation.
“We invited the civil servants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the students, to take full advantage of the training opportunities offered by our institutions and universities, with several initiative and programmes of the EU existing in these fields,” she said.
The agenda of the meeting between the two high officials also included regional policy. “We agreed that the EU member states, European institutions and strategic allies should be fully aware that stability in the Western Balkans region is a priority and a common goal and the threats to the security of the countries in Western Balkans need combined efforts. Romania participates that directly to the security and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the presence of Romanian troops in the EUFOR Althea operation, with positive results for the increased safety of our country and training the troops of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Dancila also stated.