Head of the EU Delegation to BiH Lars-Gunar Vigermark said on Wednesday that the next year will be very important for BiH, regarding its European integration and that in the first half of 2019 BiH will receive the opinion of the European Commission in which “guidelines, in terms of strategies and times of reform that this country needs to take, will be indicated”.
“We hope that the next convening of the institutions, parliaments and all parties, who on the General Elections receive mandates for the next four years, will work constructively in the direction of BiH’s integration into the EU”, Wigemark said at the conference “Europe, BiH and the Austrian Presidency of the EU”, which was held in Sarajevo in organization of the Embassy of Austria and the Pan-European Union in BiH.
Wigemark said that BiH is still missing a wider dialogue on the meaning of European integration, especially for young people, and how to overcome obstacles on the way to EU. He emphasized that any dialogue on European integration of BiH and the Balkans region is important because it is one of the topics agreed upon by participants in political life.
“Regarding the ongoing election campaign, we are trying to avoid political comments that could be misinterpreted. But, according to comments during the conference, it seems that there is still lack of a wider dialogue in BiH about this issue”, he said.
Wigemark added that every kind of political debate is welcome if it gives the answer on the question what should be done on the European path. The host of the conference, Ambassador of Austria to BiH, Martin Pamer, stressed that the conference was an opportunity to discuss key issues related to the process of European integration, and on the necessary steps related to the reforms.
“We hope that Europe and reforms will be the subject during the election campaign and that these forces that win the elections will have the responsibility and know what to do. We hope that they will continue with the great energy and constructive way BiH’s path to Europe”, Pamer said.
Speaking about European integration, he emphasized that BiH has been on the right track since 2015 and that a lot of work has already been done, despite the fact that the Reform agenda is not fully implemented.
BiH Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josip Brkić, expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the conference, which was also an opportunity to speak about the achievements of BiH over the past four years on the European path.
“We had the opportunity to make an analysis of the situation since 2015, when the European path, by the entry into force of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, was unblocked. We also had the submission of the BiH membership application, the positive opinion of the European Council on BiH’s request, obtaining the Questionnaire and additional questions from the European Commission”, Brkić stressed.
He reiterated that the European Commission will give its opinion, and that it will be a good basis for the authorities elected at the forthcoming elections in October to continue BiH’s accession to the European Union.
A member of the Presidency of the Pan-European Union in BiH, Osman Topčagić, stressed that, despite the election campaign, it is necessary to maintain the interest of political actors and the public in the process of European integration.
“We believe that at the time of the pre-election rhetoric, the process of European integration should take place and intensify so that BiH can meet its neighbours and obtain candidate status in reasonable time”, Topčagić said./IBNA