Banja Luka, June 16, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs from countries members of Central European Initiative (CEI) concluded on Thursday in Banja Luka that there are two big issues that have large influence on the whole region. Those issues are the migrant crisis and the growing threat of terrorism and foreign terrorist warriors.
The ministers concluded that all countries of CEI are ready to support politics and actions that will bring results against these dangers and to build strong, united and peaceful society in the Europe. Also, the ministers concluded that it is necessary to strengthen the battle against organized crime, especially in human trafficking and all kinds of corruption. In the communique, the ministers expressed the will to build good relations among CEI countries, to work on the strengthening of security, free market and achievement of human rights and freedom.
The host of the conference, BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs, Igor Crnadak, said that the conference comes at a significant moment – for BiH – when great efforts are given to make the next step on its European path and receiving the green light from the Council of Foreign Affairs in July.
“That is why I think it is very important to discuss how we can contribute to the European path through our regional cooperation. Some of the major topics of the conference will be the issue of migrations and struggle against terrorism”, Crnadak said to the media in Banja Luka.
Crnadak pointed out that it was very important that, following a successful presidency of the Council of Europe, BiH had another presidency in CEI and to organize such an important conference.
“I think that this event is also important for Banja Luka and Republika Srpska, and as someone who represents RS in the BiH Council of Ministers I am happy and believe that this is an additional value and promotion for the entity”, Crnadak added.
He went on to say that the key points for BiH on its EU path are adaptation of the Stabilization and Association agreement and the agreement on operative coordination mechanism. He emphasized that countries which are BiH friends are not able to help if those issues still exist. Politicians on all levels must achieve political agreement on this two topics.
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Johannes Hahn, said in his speech on the conference that current refugee crisis is a litmus test for the EU but also for this region and puts regional co-operation to the test.
“In that context I welcome the activities of The Central European Initiative in bringing expertise from around the region together to discuss and share experience in migration and human trafficking. On our side, we have invested a lot of efforts to support countries bearing the heaviest burden of the refugee crisis linked to the continuing Syrian conflict and we will continue to do so”.
The Western Balkan/Eastern Mediterranean route has closed and this, together with the EU-Turkey agreement, contributed to the management of the migration pressure”, Hahn said.
On the margins of the conference many bilateral meetings were held between ministers of foreign affairs of CEI countries. Also, many of the participants took the chance to see Banja Luka and to try local food specialities. Austrian Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz, was seen in a local kebab restaurant and Hahn and his associates had lunch at the restaurant “Philippe”, just few meters from Kurz.