Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations Security: Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

New York, 18/05/2017 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 171206_2
Statements on behalf of the EU

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Mr. João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Debate on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

– Check against delivery –

Mr President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 28 Member States.

The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Albania*, as well as Ukraine, align themselves with this statement.

I join other speakers in welcoming High Representative Valentin Inzko back to the Council and in assuring him of the European Union’s continued support. I also welcome the Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina and thank him for his statement.

Monsieur le Président,

2016 a été une très bonne année pour la Bosnie-Herzégovine sur le chemin de la réforme et vers l’intégration européenne.

La Bosnie-Herzégovine a officiellement déposé sa candidature à l’adhésion à l’Union européenne en février 2016. Le 20 septembre de la même année, le Conseil a chargé la Commission d’examiner cette candidature.

À la demande du Conseil, M. Hahn, commissaire européen pour la politique de voisinage et l’élargissement, a remis le 9 décembre 2016 aux autorités de Sarajevo un questionnaire destiné à permettre à la Commission de remettre un avis sur la préparation du pays.

Ce questionnaire de 3 242 questions, fournira un aperçu complet du paysage constitutionnel, politique, économique et social du pays. Il  constituera également un premier test pour les institutions de Bosnie-Herzégovine de leur capacité à travailler ensemble, dans tout le pays.

Sur la base des réponses fournies, la Commission européenne présentera  un état des lieux et ses recommandations au Conseil de l’UE concernant non seulement le statut de candidat de la Bosnie-Herzégovine mais aussi les négociations d’adhésion. Celles-ci comprendront les axes d’efforts qui devront être fournis prioritairement par la Bosnie Herzégovine pour aller de l’avant sur la voie du rapprochement européen.

Mr President,

After years of stagnation, these positive developments are the result of the Initial Agenda for Reform (2015-2018) which governments of state and entity levels have elaborated in the framework of the renewed approach of the EU integration process, focusing since 2014 on social and economic reforms. The new EU approach has shown results; but the implementation of the reforms is fragile, and socio-political outlook remains tenuous.  It is time for sincere reform efforts. Without them the increase of radicalism, socio-economic problems and nationalistic tensions could result in long-term instability.

Bosnia and Herzegovina initially made good progress and the pace of reforms should not decrease. We therefore expect continued and effective implementation of this Reform Agenda. Bosnia and Herzegovina has entered a phase where it faces difficult decisions regarding the economy and public administration. Success in these reforms can bring significant benefits for citizens and help the country advance in the EU integration process. The much improved growth rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina – more than 3% in 2016 – and growth in private sector jobs, are signs that, with the right policies, economic progress is within reach.

In doing so, Bosnia and Herzegovina makes a positive contribution to regional cooperation, which is also an important factor in a country’s EU path.

Mr President,

Against these efforts for economic reforms, Bosnia and Herzegovina continues, however, to suffer from agendas driven by constituency interests, which divert attention from much needed reforms. Controversies are pulling Bosnia and Herzegovina in the wrong direction.

The judiciary should not be instrumentalised to justify a lack of a common vision. It is the responsibility of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political authorities to forge a country-wide agenda but also to comply with judicial decisions, once issued.

Rulings of the Constitutional Court on the election law will have to be addressed in an appropriate manner by the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities. Ensuring the smooth conduct of the general elections, scheduled for autumn 2018, is key.

But as I said, 2017 should be used to focus and resolve pending issues which present a challenge to the socio-economic environment and democratic institutions.

Mr President,

I would also like to encourage the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to move forward its European Agenda and contribute to establishing a democratic and well-functioning society, where the equality of Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs and all other citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina is warranted.

The EU reiterates its unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a sovereign and united country. The European Union will continue to use all available instruments to support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stability and progress. The overall security situation has remained relatively calm and stable, however security is not yet fully entrenched. In this context, the European Union confirms that EUFOR/Althea, through its executive mandate, retains the capability to contribute to the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities’ deterrence capacity if the situation so requires while focusing on capacity building and training.

As the country’s stability continues to strengthen and further progress is achieved in reforms and on the EU path, the European Union looks forward to continuing, in the appropriate forum, the discussion with the international community on the possible reconfiguration of the international presence. In this regard, the European Union calls on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to pursue the Reform Agenda and to increase its efforts to meet the outstanding objectives and the conditions for the future closure of the Office of the High Representative.

Monsieur le Président, pour conclure,

Au cours des deux décennies durant lesquelles ce Conseil s’est penché sur la situation dans le pays, nous avons été témoins des progrès de la Bosnie-Herzégovine dans tous les domaines – progrès socioéconomique, démocratie, sécurité. La réconciliation entre les citoyens exige, pour sa part, un surcroit d’efforts de réforme continus et d’inclusivité.

 

Je le redis aujourd’hui comme hier, les portes de l’Union européenne sont ouvertes!

Il incombe aux dirigeants politiques de Bosnie-Herzégovine de prendre les mesures nécessaires pour concrétiser cette perspective claire et rejoindre l’Union européenne.

Merci, Monsieur le Président.

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