The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, visited Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday, 23 February.
On her second visit to the country in less than three months, the High Representative/Vice President Mogherini was welcomed by the BiH Presidency Members Mladen Ivanic, Bakir Izetbegovic and Dragan Covic.
HR/VP Mogherini attended and addressed a special session of the Houses of Representatives of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly. The visit was made in the wake of a joint statement on a reform commitment to the EU accession process that was adopted by the two Houses. This was a result of an initiative made by the EU to bring new momentum to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU integration process, as outlined in the Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council held in December 2014. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Presidency has thereby made an irrevocable commitment to undertake the necessary reforms. The leaders of the 14 political parties in Parliament all signed the statement.
Speaking after the commitment’s adoption, HR/VP Mogherini said:
“I am honoured to be present at this important moment. The EU is ready to take proper account of this development. I will be personally informing EU Foreign Ministers in a few weeks’ time. I will also propose an exchange of views in the Council of the European Union on the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina. But this is still only the beginning. You know very well that more has to be done before it can be possible to apply for European Union membership.”
She also met with the Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers, Vjekoslav Bevanda, the Presidents of the entities, Marinko Cavara and Milorad Dodik, the Chairman-designate of the Council of Ministers, Denis Zvizdic, and the incoming entity Prime Ministers, Zeljka Cvijanovic and Fadil Novalic.
At a meeting on media freedom and cultural issues with BiH intellectuals, members of the media sector and cultural activists, HR/VP Mogherini emphasized the significance of civil society in the process of the BiH’s EU integration process and called for progress on the issue of reopening the national museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Completing her visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, HR/VP Mogherini held a press conference in the EU House in Sarajevo. On this occasion, she said:
“We expect that work will start now immediately, at all levels, on an initial reform agenda. This would mean moving ahead with economic and social measures in the framework of the Compact for Growth and Jobs. It will mean putting in place measures for building a functioning market economy. It will mean undertaking measures to strengthen the rule of law, and to strengthen the reconciliation process, and to strengthen the administrative capacities, and enhancing the efficiency of institutions at all levels. I will close with the overall feeling that the strong political will is there. I found this in all my interlocutors today, in all institutions, in all individuals.”