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Sarajevo, 23 February 2015
Thank you very much, thank you for being here. It is a pleasure for me to be here in Sarajevo just a couple of months after my first and last visits. I am happy today that I have had a chance to meet Members of the Presidency - I would like to thank them for their role and the leadership in these months to reach the written commitment. I had a meeting with the Presidents of both entities, with the Parliament leadership, I have had a chance of addressing the Parliament in a day that I defined as historical; it is really important to me and – I hope – to the whole country. I had a meeting with the Chairman-designate of the Council of Ministers, with the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska and the nominee for the Prime Minister of the Federation, and finally – but not least – I've just had an exchange of views with journalists, media and cultural activists in Ars Aevi and then I'm heading to the HQ of EUFOR Althea.
Let me start by saying that the developments we have seen in this couple of months and finishing with the endorsement today by the Parliament are very positive developments, a reaction to the EU initiative that we launched here in December. And let me be clear on the fact that this is obviously on one side a historical moment, an achievement in itself but also a starting point because we all know that the key issue will be the implementation of reforms. We all know this is the most difficult part of the job. Let me say that the EU is ready to support Bosnia and Herzegovina and its leadership and its people in the way forward.
I will now report back to the Foreign Ministers in our next Foreign Affairs Council in March. Reporting about the positive developments and recommending that the European Union reciprocates, including on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. I think everybody is very much aware of the fact that, on one side, yes - today can be a historical moment, on the other side the risk of going back to disillusion is high and that no one here or in Brussels can afford going back to political stalemate that has been there for so long.
What people here in Bosnia and Herzegovina ask for is a European future for their country and I think that is very clear that it is time to deliver on this. We expect that work will start now immediately, at all levels, on an initial reform agenda. This would mean moving ahead with economic and social measures in the framework of the Compact for Growth and Jobs. It will mean putting in place measures for building a functional market economy. It will mean undertaking measures to strengthen the rule of law, and to strengthen the reconciliation process, and to strengthen the administrative capacities, and enhancing the efficiency of institutions at all levels.
I will close with the overall feeling that the strong political will is there. I found this in all my interlocutors today, in all institutions, in all individuals. And let me assure you that the same strong political will is there in Brussels, in the European institutions, among the Member States and I count on this political will to be able to deliver some good, positive steps for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Thank you very much.