Vice President of the European Commission Siim Kallas today sent a message to the fourth meeting of the sub-committee on transport, which meets in the framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Interim Agreement with the European Union.

Commissioner Kallas said:

“Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

“I am very pleased to speak to you today as participants of the annual Sub-committee meeting on transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union. Freedom of movement is a cornerstone of European liberty and a massive achievement. We need transport to ensure that this freedom remains guaranteed.

“I welcome the progress Bosnia and Herzegovina has made over the last years in the transposition of EU legislation on transport. The Interim Agreement to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement helps Bosnia and Herzegovina also for transit traffic and thus opens up new market opportunities for traders from all parts of the country.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina can do even better: the EU legislation on the transport of dangerous goods should be transposed and be applicable to the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This requirement has been an outstanding issue for quite some time. And even more important, there is no country-wide transport strategy. Both entities have strategic plans or ideas which could be much better coordinated.

“Such a country-wide strategy is needed above all in order to provide for an economically sound and legally reliable planning of projects of international relevance. This leads me to two major projects on which the Commission focuses very much: The Corridor Vc motorway and railway project and the development of the Sava River. The Corridor Vc will cross Bosnia and Herzegovina from north to south. It is the biggest infrastructure project currently ongoing in your country. The Corridor Vc will provide for the interconnection of large parts of the country with the Trans-European Network and thus give the country access to important transport axes in South-East Europe and beyond. I call upon all political stakeholders in your country to put all efforts together to make it possible that the infrastructure measures for the motorways and the railways can be completed by 2017, which is our common goal.

“The Commission will continue to financially support this important project, if there is a clear political agreement and commitment from your authorities.

“Modern EU transport policy obviously includes environmental requirements to be respected in full compliance with EU law. As an example, Environmental Impact Assessments are needed for every transport infrastructure measure.

“There is also a broad agreement in the region about the reestablishment of the River Sava Route as a key inland waterway of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. The European Commission supports this project with IPA funds with the aim to enhance water transport facilities.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, by building more transport connections we connect more people and improve trade and business flows. Thank you very much for your attention, and I wish you a very fruitful meeting today in Sarajevo.”