Statement by the Heads of EU Mission in BiH on the occasion of 9 May "Europe Day"
BiH can expect full support from the EU family in its future endeavours
11. May 2010. | 18:09
Source: EMGportal, Fena
On 9th of May we mark the 60th anniversary of the Declaration proposed by then French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman.
Only five years after the most devastating war in human history, Schuman's vision of the new Europe offered clear, simple yet ambitious goals: to establish a system of economic cooperation, which would lead to reconciliation and peace.
Without any hesitation, we can say today that Robert Schuman's vision is alive, inspiring people and governments to build friendships and seek solutions for some of the most pressing problems of our times together.
For more than five decades the European Union has been a success story, it has shown that it can change and move ahead with new initiatives even in times of dire crisis.
The EU’s enlargement policy – notably the accession of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in 2004 and 2007 – has undoubtedly contributed to stability and prosperity throughout the continent.
As a result, Europe today is much safer and more prosperous than it ever was in the past. With 27 Member States and a population of close to half a billion, the European Union is stronger and more influential in the world than it ever was. The success of the European Union has grown out of regional cooperation, which has developed hand in hand with a deeper commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
The invitation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the other countries of the region to become part of the European family, once they meet the conditions, has opened a new chapter for the Western Balkans.
Two years ago Bosnia and Herzegovina entered a new stage of its relations with the European Union, when it signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and the Interim Agreement entered into force. Together with the ongoing visa liberalisation dialogue, this laid the ground for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s future EU membership.
We are working together with the BiH authorities to move ahead. But the pace of progress towards the EU depends entirely on BiH and its own efforts; it cannot and will not be imposed from outside. It is clear, however, that recent progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina has not been satisfactory. We are concerned about the deterioration of the political climate and the return of nationalistic rhetoric. This situation has brought many important reforms to a standstill and has markedly slowed the country's EU integration effort.
Bosnia and Herzegovina appears not to be engaged with the appropriate determination in the direction which we all hoped for when we offered it the perspective of full EU membership. But we must not be disheartened - the founders of the European Union had to deal with similar challenges and discovered the solution in European integration. There is no reason why Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans cannot follow the same path.
2010 is a critical year in determining the pace at which Bosnia and Herzegovina will proceed towards European integration. It should be a year of renewed responsibility and unity in this country, not a year of discord and stagnation.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leaders need to unite their efforts and build the kind of political consensus that has delivered progress on EU integration elsewhere in the region. To do so, they will ask for a new mandate from the people in the October elections. For this they need to be supported by the media and civil society. Let’s be clear – the alternative is a real risk that Bosnia and Herzegovina will fall behind its neighbours and to lose credibility.
Constructive dialogue and a spirit of compromise are among the EU’s core values, just as they are the key to the EU Accession process and the much needed reforms that will benefit of this country and its citizens. By taking its destiny in to its own hands and moving ahead on its European journey, Bosnia and Herzegovina can expect full support from the EU family in its future endeavours.
Dr. Valentin Inzko, EU Special Representative in BiH
Ambassador Alejandro E. Alvargonzalez San Martin, Spanish EU Presidency
Ambassador Dimitris Kourkoulas, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH
Major General Bernhard Bair, Commander of EUFOR
Brigadier General Stefan Feller, Head of the EUPM in BiH