ECFR Delegation: Trieste meeting essential for Western Balkan countries

ECFR Delegation: Trieste meeting essential for Western Balkan countries

Co-Chairperson of the European Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFR), Carl Bildt, expressed on Wednesday in Sarajevo the expectations that the leaders of the Balkans will take concrete steps to ensure stability in the region and that this intention will become visible next week in Trieste, Italy, on the meeting of Western Balkan political leaders.

Bildt also said that he expects that leaders will work to speed up reforms in their countries, which will bring them closer to the EU.

“Further EU enlargement is an imperative, and the only way forward for the Western Balkans is the acceleration of European integration. To ensure membership, it will take time, as this is not an easy task”, said Bildt during meeting with the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Goran Svilanovic. According to Bildt, strong economic reforms are needed, in order for these countries to be eligible for membership, but that the regional co-operation is a powerful tool to provide the region with the necessary incentives.

Svilanovic expressed optimism about the upcoming summit of the Western Balkans in Trieste, as well as the hope that an agreement on the action plan, prepared by the RCC along with regional governments, will be reached, thus starting a new chapter in the region’s progress towards economic and social prosperity and accession to EU.

“The plan is a catalyst for the European integration process, but it is not a substitute for the existing framework.We want to see that our economies use this opportunity and carry out the project. Implementation of these changes will be for the benefit of their citizens”, Svilanovic stressed.

President of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and President of the Founding Council of the Geneva Security Policy Center, François Heisbourg, emphasized that the region is showing signs of serious instability, and that leaders in the Balkans and the EU have to act quickly and use the moment to keep the region on the European Way.

ECFR delegation, leaded by Carl Bildt, met at Wednesday in Sarajevo Bosniak member of BiH Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, who stressed  strong commitment of all BiH institutions to membership in the European Union and NATO.

In the meeting participants agreed that it is necessary to make additional efforts to overcome the problems from the past, and to focus political leaders on the future, stabilize the political situation and improve the economy, which would stop the migration of young people from BiH.

It was also stressed that the political support of BiH friends from the international community is more visible, in order to further accelerate BiH’s path towards European integration.

European delegation had, on Tuesday late afternoon, several meeting with RS political leaders in Banja Luka. They also met wth RS PM, Zeljka Cvijanovic, who stated that RS has an active approach in dealing with European integration matters, that it was crucial that the Coordination mechanism starts working in full and that all sides comply with the procedures and rules which are defined by this mechanism.

She informed the Delegation about the measures which the RS Government was taking in accordance with the Action Plan of the Reform Agenda and stressed that RS was the only government level in BiH which implemented all obligations from the Reform Agenda.

The Reform Agenda,  as Cvijanovic said, has been brought into question by most of the actors in BiH even though they committed themselves to implement it and not to dispute it or hinder its implementation./IBNA