Admiral, Generals, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be standing here today. And it was a privilege to review this guard of honour.
During my time as EU Special Representative and High Representative, we have had very close cooperation. EUFOR is a crucial actor in its own right under the Dayton accords. But EUFOR is also an important member of the EU family.
As EU Special Representative, I am proud of the work of all members of the EU family and the way in which we work together to help build a better future for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I believe it was Field Marshall von Moltke who said that “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”. It’s the same in politics and diplomacy. We constantly have to adjust and to improvise. But we must not lose sight of our objectives, and we must keep the IC and especially the EU together.
Some appear to believe that it is now possible to declare victory and to wind EUFOR down. I respect their view, but I do not share it. As High Representative, I believe that the Bonn Powers must be backed up by military force.
I also believe that EUFOR has an important reassurance role to play. On a day-to-day basis, this task might seem uninspiring. But don’t forget that this country went through hell. The presence of EUFOR is vital to build confidence.
When I leave Bosnia and Herzegovina as High Representative and EU Special Representative in the coming days, it will be with great sadness. This country has been an important part of my life ever since I first became engaged in developments here in 1992. Bosnia and Herzegovina will forever stay in my heart.
To you, Admiral, and to the men and women of EUFOR, I wish to express my gratitude for honouring me here today.
Of course, good luck will be needed, as with all military undertakings. As von Moltke said famously: “Glueck hat auf die Dauer nur der Tuechtige!” Which means: “In the long run, luck is only with those who are capable.”
Let me state for the record: There is plenty of intellectual and military capability right here. So I am confident that luck will be with EUFOR as long as it remains in BiH!
Thank you very much.