Bosnian FM with German counterpart: Bosnia needs stronger support from EU

NEWS 09.03.2021 12:38
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Germany has been and remains one of the greatest friends and partners of Bosnia and Herzegovina, its strong support on the path of recovery and now on the road towards the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, Bosnia’s Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said following a meeting with her German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference, Turkovic said that despite opposing views coming from various countries, including those in Bosnia’s neighbourhood, the country is resuming this path, meeting the obligations it got obliged to through strategic documents it had adopted.

“These processes are slow and this is why we need stronger support of the international community, primarily the European Union, in order to accelerate the reforms and develop BiH at the pace we strive to,” she said.

The officials discussed the issue of pandemic and the difficulties that some countries, including BiH, are facing in the procurement of vaccines for their population.

“Today the whole world is facing the Covid-19 pandemic which affects the lives of citizens. At the same time, while the fight against the pandemic is ongoing, which is mostly borne by the healthcare workers, the vaccination process is starting in many countries. BiH trusted the COVAX mechanism, paid the required amount for the vaccines but we have not received the first doses yet. Our citizens are rightfully dissatisfied and that’s why I asked minister Maas to help us solve this problem through the European Commission,” stressed Turkovic.

They also spoke about the migrant crisis that BiH has been struggling with for years and Bosnian FM presented some possible solutions to this problem.

Two regions in BiH are particularly affected by this problem, the northwestern Una-Sana Canton and Sarajevo Canton, which see the largest number of migrants who actually wish to continue their journey to their final destinations in the EU.

Turkovic stressed that the international organisations that are in charge of this issue have not found an adequate answer yet.

“We see a part of the solution in strengthening our eastern border, distribution of migrants in other parts of BiH, on its whole territory, their return to the countries of origin but also in a strong EU engagement,” she added.

As for the ongoing discussion on the presence of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in BiH, the international envoy who oversees the peace implementation in the country, Turkovic said that there are strong pressures to close down this institution but that she personally thinks it should “stay and get an even stronger and more active role.”

“BiH is a complex country with a complicated decision-making system. Once it gets functional, once the political representatives start doing their best to enhance the functionality of the country, once the narrative on the potential division of the country end and we all work resolutely on the progress, that will be the moment we do not need the High Representative anymore. For now, we need his help,” she underlined.

Commenting on the interference of other countries in Bosnia’s internal affairs, Turkovic said this is particularly visible with the changes to electoral legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“BiH will not support partial solutions that would intensify the divisions. We advocate comprehensive changes in the country, that would entitle every citizen in every part of BiH to equal rights. Those are the values of EU and the values that most of the citizens of BiH aspires to,” she concluded.

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