Spindelegger: “More Europe” for Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina must still do some homework in order to be able to apply for EU membership still this year
Vienna, 3 May 2012 – Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger and his Slovene colleague, Karl Erjavec, left for working meetings in Sarajevo on Thursday. Spindelegger will meet with members of the State Presidency, Prime Minister Bevanda and Foreign Minister Lagumdžija, and is also planning to hold meetings with the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Valentin Inzko and Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Renzo Daviddi.
The focus of the one-day working visit will be the country’s rapprochement to the EU that has regained momentum since the formation of a government in February. “The new government has put the Euro-Atlantic integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the centre of its foreign policy. We support this approach. We appeal to our friends in Sarajevo to apply themselves with vigour to fulfilling the prerequisites for an application for accession to the EU”, Spindelegger said. He added that the entry into force of the stabilisation and association agreement that is planned for this year is an important intermediate step, a step that should best be taken before the summer break.
Both foreign ministers intend to make it very clear that progress in the country’s approach to the EU and NATO will only be possible if all political players act in concert. “There is no doubt about it: Bosnia and Herzegovina will only be able to join the EU and NATO as one state. Hence it is high time that all forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina finally leave the ethnic-territorial concepts of the 1990s and secessionist ideas behind and make sure that the central state becomes viable and fit for Europe”, Spindelegger said before his departure. A smoothly functioning government machinery and efficient EU coordination long before accession to the EU are basic requirements to be fulfilled by all EU members. Once these prerequisites will have been ensured for the long term and when the next stages on the country’s path towards EU integration have been mastered by ensuring “more EU”, more support will be granted to a further decrease of the international presence in the country; “less Dayton” in exchange for “more EU”.
By way of conclusion the Vice Chancellor said that Austria and Slovenia will continue to stand behind Bosnia and Herzegovina’s course towards the EU. However, this will also require that the country does its “homework”. “Our countries have for many years been supporting the stability, security and prosperity of the entire region and Bosnia. As the biggest foreign investor, the largest supplier of troops to EUFOR Althea and as a close friend and neighbour, Austria will continue to pro-actively support the European future of the country”, Spindelegger concluded.
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