EU Global Strategy

EU Statement – UN Security Council VTC Debate on "The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina"

New York, 05/11/2020 - 18:16, UNIQUE ID: 201105_36
Statements on behalf of the EU

5 November 2020, New York -- European Union Statement by H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the Security Council VTC Debate on "The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina"

- as delivered -

Madame President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States and the Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*and Albania*, align themselves with this statement.

I wanted to first join others in thanking High Representative Valentin Inzko and reiterating the EU’s continued support to his mission, and can I add my greetings to you Valentin and my appreciation for your dedication, your energy, your independence and your integrity that remain unfettered over the years.

Madame President,

In December 2019, the Council of the European Union reiterated its unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country. We urged executive and legislative bodies at all levels of government to start addressing the 14 key priorities identified in the EU Commission Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina's application for membership of the European Union, in line with the interests of all citizens to advance towards the European Union.

In the past months, Bosnia and Herzegovina's authorities have made some steps to address these priorities. We welcome that for the first time since 2008, local elections will also take place in the city of Mostar on 20 December 2020. Political leaders also reached an agreement on 17 June 2020 on further electoral reform. We call for an inclusive process of electoral reform, through genuine dialogue and in line with European standards, that would eliminate all forms of inequality and discrimination in the electoral process. In this regard, we underline that no legislative or political step should be taken which would make the implementation of the Sejdić-Finci ruling and related ECtHR rulings more challenging.

We welcome the recent adoption of the revised national war crime strategy, and we call for its swift implementation, which will contribute to the wider goal of promoting an environment conducive to reconciliation.

We call on the authorities of the country to build on this momentum and continue to engage on reforms, thereby giving tangible proof that Bosnia and Herzegovina is willing to do what it takes to become a member of the EU. Only by delivering on reforms will Bosnia and Herzegovina advance towards the EU.

The European Union strongly underlines the need for the authorities to work towards strengthening the rule of law, in particular the independence and integrity of the judiciary, fighting corruption and organised crime, countering radicalisation as well as guaranteeing the independence of the media, safety of journalists, promoting youth employment and education, gender equality and renewing their efforts towards socioeconomic reforms.

Madame la Président,

Cette année marque à la fois la 25ème commémoration du Génocide de Srebrenica et les 25 ans des Accords de Paix de Dayton ; nous attendons des élites politiques des actes politiques forts et concrets démontrant de leur engagement profond pour promouvoir la réconciliation dans le pays. Le révisionnisme, notamment la minimisation ou le négationnisme du génocide de Srebrenica, et la glorification des criminels de guerre contredisent les valeurs de l'Union Européenne et sont incompatible avec la perspective d'intégration dans l'Union Européenne.

Avec les élections locales qui doivent se tenir le 15 Novembre dans l’ensemble du pays et le 20 Décembre à Mostar, nous souhaitons rappeler à tous les acteurs politiques de l’importance de s’abstenir de toute déclaration provocatrice et visant à créer un climat de division.

Nous attendons également des autorités qu’elles assument pleinement les responsabilités qui leur incombent pour ce qui est de la situation migratoire, et notamment, avec notre soutien, qu’elles réunissent d'urgence les conditions permettant de faire face aux besoins humanitaires, y compris l’hébergement des réfugiés et migrants, tout en travaillant au renforcement de ses capacités de gestion de frontières.

Madame President,

Bosnia and Herzegovina, like the rest of Europe, continues to be impacted by the global COVID 19 pandemic, as raised by many today. In these difficult times, the EU remains firmly engaged in assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina in addressing the immediate health needs as well as with the long-term social and economic impact resulting from the pandemic. The recent Commission’s Economic and Investment Plan, once again demonstrates the EU’s strong commitment towards Bosnia and Herzegovina and all the Western Balkans’ partners.

Lastly, Madame President, with regard to the political and security situation on the ground and the importance of maintaining a safe and secure environment, the European Union reiterates its firm support to EUFOR Althea and to the mandate entrusted to it by the Security Council. I thank you very much Madame President.

* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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