Bosnia should strive to reduce the presence of the international community since the current size of the presence is incompatible with membership in the European Union, Johan Sattler, the Head of the EU Delegation to BiH, pointed out in Banja Luka on Monday.
“We have seen the candidacy proposal made by Germany, which is a positive signal. We welcome the indication of a strong engagement of Germany, as the strongest country in the European Union. In the medium and long term – this extent of the international community's presence in BiH is incompatible with EU membership. We are in stages where we should strive to gradually reduce this presence,” Sattler said.
He said that the rise in the citizens’ support for the EU integration process can be seen over the past years and that now the support rate is some 80 percent.
“The percentage is lower in Republika Srpska (RS) entity, but it is much better compared to the region. Statistics are an indicator that the EU is your most loyal partner, and that was also shown during the pandemic,” Sattler said.
Sattler also pointed out that 2020 showed that steps forward are possible and that some issues have been resolved, such as the elections in Mostar. This year, 2021, in his opinion, is a year of opportunities.
“We noticed a more significant focus on BiH from the EU level and across the Atlantic. The opportunities brought by a non-election year should be used. There are 14 priorities of the European Commission that underline what needs to be done, what reforms to implement. There are difficult issues – but for our part, we expect stronger engagement of parties and elected officials,” Sattler concluded in his address.
Sattler attended the 11th meeting of the Parliamentary Forum for BIH’s European Integration, which is held at the RS National Assembly building, and which is hosted by the Committee for European Integration and Regional Cooperation of the RS National Assembly.
In addition to Sattler, the meeting was attended by representatives of the BiH Directorate for European Integration, members of committees and commissions for the European integration of the RS National Assembly, BiH Parliamentary Assembly, House of Representatives, the Brcko District Parliament, and representatives of cantonal assemblies.