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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article24 November 2021Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

EP Plenary Session – Commission statement by Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Madam Chair, Honourable Minister, Honourable Members,

The Commission has been closely following the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a concern.

Commissioner Várhelyi is actually traveling there tomorrow morning for political dialogue, to help de-escalate tensions and to explain how to relaunch the country’s European agenda.

Let me reiterate our unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country. The recently adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution, renewing the executive mandate of Operation EUFOR Althea, confirms the EU’s unwavering commitment to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in maintaining a safe and secure environment.

The prolonged political crisis has held back progress on reforms in 2021.

We are committed to support the country’s leaders in taking steps to de-escalate, resume dialogue, and address the substance of issues that are fueling tensions.

All political parties should return to State institutions and make sure they function smoothly. This is essential for Bosnia and Herzegovina to fully benefit from EU programmes and funds, including our Economic Investment Plan, at a delicate moment where the socio-economic recovery after the pandemic is at stake.

The people of Bosnia and Herzegovinacontinue to be concerned about their elected leaders’ lack of action in addressing problems that are vital for their daily life: rampant corruption, major weaknesses in the judicial system, mass unemployment, poor health services or young people leaving the country to find a better life elsewhere. Political leaders should work together to address these issues rapidly.

We reiterate the EU’s support for resumingconstructive dialogue and for respecting and protecting State institutions.

Political leaders should work together to pursue the priorities in fulfilling the 14 key priorities from the Commission Opinion, in line with the interest of all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to progress towards EU membership.

The EU has been and will continue to be active in facilitating dialogue, via EU Delegation, EU Special Representative office, and EU External Action service, mandated by the HRVP.   

We have also worked closely with the U.S., including on advancing talks for constitutional and electoral reforms, and on discussing the issues behind the current political stalemate.

We will continue our efforts to promote dialogue and refocus on reforms that will allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to advance on its path towards EU membership.

The EU will continue to closely follow the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to help parties progress in line with EU principles and values.

In the present context, it is vital to ensure EU unity and consistent messaging of all parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from all EU institutions – Commission, Council and Parliament.

We reconfirm our commitment to the European perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as President von der Leyen said during her visit in September. We hope that all parties will quickly start working together to achieve this objective.

It is only by carrying out substantial reforms that Bosnia and Herzegovina will make progress on its path towards EU accession.

Madam Chair, Honourable Members, first of all, thank you for today’s debate and for your clear message.

In the present context, it is key to ensure EU unity and consistent messages to all the parties.

As President von der Leyen stated during her resent visit, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a clear EU accession perspective.

We hope that political leaders will rapidly start to work together to meet all 14 key priorities in the Commission Opinion, in the interest of all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It is only through dialogue that progress can be made. So it is of utmost importance to return to the institutions. This is the message that Commissioner Varhelyi will give political leaders during his visit.

The good functioning of State institutions is key for Bosnia and Herzegovina to draw maximum benefit from EU funds and programmes, including our Economic Investment Plan. 

We will continue our efforts to help facilitatingdialogue and to refocus on reforms to help the country on its path towards EU accession, in line with the expectations of its people.

Once again, we reiterate our unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country, on its way towards EU integration. 

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