The EU wants to speed up BiH’s EU accession and give it an impetus to speed up the required reforms, European Council President Charles Michel said Friday in Sarajevo, adding that the Western Balkans’ future is in the EU and that Bosnia is one of Union's highest priorities.
BiH Presidency Chairman Sefik Dzaferovic welcomed Michel, who came to BiH for the first time.
“At last year's summit in Bled, Michel said one sentence that was, in fact, the main thesis of the meeting today – ‘The Balkans need the European Union’ and since then it could be added that ‘the EU also needs the Western Balkans’. Today's meeting is marked by the statement – that all the Western Balkans countries must be integrated into the EU as soon as possible. Russia's aggression against Ukraine shows the even greater significance of that statement. What Michel is doing is actually a vision of how relations in Europe and the world should be regulated. It was clearly stated that BiH and other countries in the Western Balkans have a completely clear vision of the EU,” Dzaferovic stated.
The BiH Presidency Chairman said that there was also talk of a new geopolitical community which, as he pointed out, is not and must not be a substitute for the European path of the Western Balkans, but “can and must be something that will lead us to greater and stronger cooperation with the EU.”
“Today we also talked about the situation in BiH. I presented the well-known attitudes of respect for the Constitution and institutions of BiH, whose work must be unblocked. Attacks on reforms must stop because it is in the interest of us all. I asked Michel to help BiH get the candidate status as soon as possible because that is something that would significantly relax relations within BiH,” Dazferovic concluded.
The European Council President, Charles Michel, thanked the hosts for the warm welcome and pointed out how important it is to be in BiH in order to confirm the belief in Bosnia’s path to the EU.
“It is time for a new impetus in EU integration. We want to deepen cooperation and continue the dialogue. I wanted to hear how we, as the Union, can support you,” he said.
Predsjednik Evropskog vijeća Charles Michel o novoj ideji geopolitičke zajednice " Vrijeme je za jedan novih zamah u napretku evropskih integracija"
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— TV N1 Sarajevo (@N1infoSA) May 20, 2022
Michel drew a parallel between the wars in Ukraine and BiH.
“You know how important it is for us to work together. The consequences of the war in Ukraine are equally felt by all of us in Europe. We must find a way to speed up the process of integration into the European Union,” said Charles Michel and added that one of the topics of discussion was also the new geopolitical organization that will not replace the EU.