Sarajevo is host to 94 NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) Rose Roth seminar which brought together over 170 participants, including 84 members of parliament from 36 NATO member states and partner countries.
The seminar is entitled “The Western Balkans: Transition Challenges, European Aspirations and Links to the MENA Region”. On the the three-day meeting, which begun at Tuesday in Sarajevo, participants had the opportunity to discuss prospects for EU and NATO enlargement in the Western Balkans, intra-regional relations and internal political developments in the context of challenges coming from the unstable Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The event was organised by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) in cooperation with the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with the generous support of the Swiss Government. One of participants was the EU Delegation to BiH and Chargé d’Affaires of the EU Delegation to BiH”, Khaldoun Sinno, emphasised in his address to participants the importance of the EU’s role for improving the lives of citizens through supporting socio economic reforms in BiH, at a panel on the country’s Reform Agenda and the political situation.
Speaking about the new EU approach towards the country spanning the past two years, Sinno recalled the objectives of the Reform Agenda adopted by BiH authorities. He underscored that the Reform Agenda was designed to rebalance the country’s economic model – which is dominated by the public sector at the expense of the private sector – as well as to grant citizens across the country, particularly youth, access to more opportunities and jobs.
“This new approach very much resonates with the EU’s Global Strategy that we presented last year. Together with our partners, we promote resilience worldwide. A resilient state is a secure state, and security is key for prosperity and democracy. But the reverse holds true as well. To ensure sustainable security, it is not only state institutions that we will support. A resilient society featuring democracy, trust in institutions, and sustainable development lies at the heart of a resilient state”, Sinno underlined.
Sinno further reflected on the visits of High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn to BiH earlier in the month, which represent a clear political sign of the EU’s interest and support to the country.
BiH Conincil of Ministers Chairman, Denis Zvizdic, said at the seminar that this meeting for the Council of Ministers of BiH, as well as for him personally, is an important and special sign that the region of the Western Balkans, and thus BiH, is in the focus of all the processes regarding the European and Euro-Atlantic integration once again.
“This one, as well as many other events that are taking place in BiH, as well as in the area of other Western Balkan countries, are representing an additional stimulus and give a clear European perspective to our region”, said Zvizdic.
He added that for BiH is particularly important, besides the fact that all countries in the region are clearly committed to the preservation of peace and stability in the region, is defining common priorities and creation of regional projects, which mean quality connections towards strengthening of economic cooperation and creation of a common market. Zvizdic also said that, the peace and stability are basic and the most important priorities and NATO is a synonym for stability and prosperity for BiH. He noted that the pace of progress towards successful integration into the EU and NATO are mostly depending on “local powers” as well as the successful implementation of reforms and entire modernization of the state.
“We are fully committed to the current reform process, which will eventually mean the acceptance of modern EU standards, as well as the sustainable valorization of our natural and economic resources. On the other side, we are expecting a proper understanding for the situation in BiH and the Balkans”, said Zvizdic.
The NATO PA has held 20 Rose-Roth Seminars in the Western Balkans since the beginning of the programme in 1991. This was the fourth one held in Sarajevo./IBNA