BiH is marking two ears of Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with European Union entered into force and its positive impacts on BiH economy, according to speakers on the ceremony in Sarajevo, are visible but there is a lot of work to be done ahead.
Standing Rapporteur for BiH in the European Parliament, Cristian Dan Preda, said on the ceremony that change in EU attitude enabled the country’s progress.
“The aim of this agreement is to prepare the country for membership in the EU. It is a political aspect and the authorities of this country have agreed in September on the reform agenda. This positive trend continued in 2016, when application was submitted and with the establishment of a coordination mechanism, which resulted with EU questionnaire”, Dan Preda said.
Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH, Lars Gunnar Wigemark, stressed that an important event for BiH was submission of the application for EU membership.
“Presence of numerous representatives of the legislative power is a confirmation that parliaments on all levels do their part of the work relating to the path of BiH towards the EU and that is what interested citizens”, Wigemark pointed out.
Speaking about the benefits of the SAA, Wigemark said that it brought the trade liberalization, and added that the EU is the biggest trading partner of BiH, since about 70 percent of exports from BiH applies to exports to EU member states.
“Data from the BiH Agency of Statistics show 12.5 per cent increase in exports in the first four months of this year compared with last year. In March, exports were increased by 22 percent, while the value of exported goods amounted to one billion BAM (half of billion of Euro)”, Wigemark said.
Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers, Denis Zvizdic, said in his address to ceremony participants that the state in the past two years has made significant progress towards the European Union. He stressed that all the vital economic parameters are increased, and in regional cooperation BiH has made considerable progress.
Zvizdic stressed that BiH path to EU has no alternative because it will provide the country’s security, economic progress and prosperity, citing data that show that it is the wish of the majority of citizens.
The period from 2008, when BiH signed the SAA, until the entry into force of the agreement Zvizdic called “period of stagnation” when BiH lost a multimillion amounts of IPA funds and made damage that country still can feel it.
“Innovative approach of the EU towards BiH was the opportunity to add a new momentum to achieve socioeconomic progress of the state and make the steps that have had significant results. Because of the long period of stagnation, we are obliged to ensure that BiH is coming in the period of lasting stability and prosperity by accepting the EU heritage”, Zvizdić said.
The conference was organized by Joint Commission for European Integrations in BiH Parliamentary Assembly, with the support of EU delegation to BiH and OSCE Mission in BiH./IBNA