12. June 2014 Press release

Kurz stresses civil society role in Bosnia-Herzegovina reforms

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz: Further stagnation would endanger the entire region

Vienna, 12 June 2014 – Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said civil society is playing a key role in Bosnia and Herzegovina and emphasised the great commitment of the people’s representatives. Speaking at a panel discussion at the Austrian Foreign Ministry on the current situation in the Balkan country he said "civil society has our full support to increase pressure on the politicians, who are regrettably still too little concerned with the interests of the state as a whole."

Bosnia and Herzegovina is limping behind compared with other countries in the Western Balkans, some of which have made good progress on the path to Europe.Kurz: "Bosnia and Herzegovina should not stagnate further – this will have negative consequences for the entire region and for the EU. We would like to work together with local politicians, the civil society and the international community to bring the country faster along the path to Europe.  The discussion today is a positive signal and shows that the civil society is a committed and reliable partner for all the essential reforms."  

In the course of numerous protest demonstrations in many towns and cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in February and March this year, a de-centralised civil society movement came into existence, which has expressed its dissatisfaction with the current political and economic situation of the country. Prominent citizen representatives from all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in the Vienna event together with international experts and sought possibilities for positive reforms and to end the deadlock in the political and economic situation extending beyond ethnic and party-political limitations. Peter Sørensen, EU Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, also took part in the panel discussion, which was organised by the Vienna based Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights. A full scale conference on this issue is to be held in Vienna in September.

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