EEAS Deputy Secretary General for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response Charles Fries visited Bosnia and Herzegovina on 30 September and 1 October. During his visit, Deputy Secretary General Fries met the members of the BiH Presidency, BiH Foreign Minister Bisera Turković and BiH Deputy Minister of Defence Mijo Krešić to discuss EU-BiH cooperation in the area of security.
Deputy Secretary General Fries also took part in the EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina Counter-Terrorism Dialogue, which provided an opportunity to discuss the state of play with regard to the key objectives of the bilateral agreement EU and BiH signed on counter-terrorism in November 2019 as well as further counter-terrorism engagement beyond 2021.
The visit concluded at Camp Butmir on the occasion of the Exercise EUFOR Quick Response 2021. Addressing the media together with Operational EUFOR Commander Lieutenant General Brice Houdet and EU Ambassador in BiH Johann Sattler, Deputy Secretary General Fries commended the EUFOR ALTHEA mission for supporting the law enforcement agencies and Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and for maintaining a safe and secure environment in the country.
“Earlier this year, EU Member states discussed the future of EUFOR Althea. They recognised the important role that it continues to play in this country and confirmed all its current tasks. We are here to stay and you can count on us”, said Deputy Secretary General Fries.
Speaking about Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU integration process, Deputy Secretary General Fries underlined that the EU is the country’s largest donor, trading partner and investor in the Western Balkan.
“The EU perspective is real. President Von der Leyen recalled it loud and clear yesterday in Sarajevo. The EU-Western Balkans Summit on 6 October will also reaffirm the same message. To achieve this objective, the political leadership on Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to take its share of responsibility”, said Deputy Secretary General Fries.