Over the last quarter a century, the European Union has demonstrated its commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina's European future with actions as well as words, and continues to do this today, EU Special Representative in BiH Johann Sattler wrote in his latest blog.
Sattler reminded of his first mission in BiH back in 1997 as a member of the European Community Monitoring Mission, noting that since then the situation has “dramatically” changed in the country.
“In 1997, my colleagues and I were monitoring refugee return; housing, roads and other infrastructure still had to be repaired; the economy was on life support; the trauma of the conflict was visible everywhere, and crossing the IEBL (inter-entity boundary line between Bosnia's two semi-autonomous regions) was at times a dicey experience,” the ambassador wrote, adding that the things are not perfect today but they have “improved immensely.”
“In 1997, I was sent here because the European Community already saw Bosnia and Herzegovina as a potential member state. It understood the fundamental truth that this country’s place is in the heart of Europe. This hasn’t changed,” Sattler stressed.
“And in the last quarter of a century, the EU has demonstrated its commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European future with actions as well as words. It has provided massive material assistance, diplomatic support, and billions of euros in aid and investment in order to help this country move towards a prosperous and secure future. The EU continues to do this today – with even more focused assistance to help Bosnia and Herzegovina recover from the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added,
Despite the pandemic, Sattler said, some steps can make a change.
“We can agree on reforms that are set out in the European Commission’s Opinion and ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina delivers faster on its path to the EU. These reforms aim to ensure that human rights of all BiH citizens are fully respected, that the public services are better run and accessible to all, and that the judiciary is efficient and impartial. These goals are ambitious, but not impossible. And – it should not be forgotten – they are reforms that the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina support,” he added.