New Potential Candidate Country for EU Accession : BIH…


bih

Dışişleri : Bosna Hersek’in AB Adaylık Başvurusu

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Brussels, 15 February 2016 – Twenty years ago the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of the most violent conflicts in modern European history. Europe saw warfare that had not been seen since the end of the World War Two. Today, Monday 15 February, saw the same country submit its application for EU membership.

EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn in a joint statement stressed that the day is one of “celebration for all of us: only twenty years ago, it was in the Balkans where one of the most awful pages of the European history was written. Today we celebrate another step towards a united and peaceful continent.”

The application is a good news first of all for the people of BiH, but also for of the EU: “As some forces across our continent are questioning the very existence of our Union, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s application shows that the need of a united European continent is still strong among our peoples. The decision to apply belongs to the citizens and government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to them only. But as the EU – together with our international partners and the international financial institutions – we have strongly invested in strengthening Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European perspective”.

They praised the progress made. “We would not be here today if it were not for the country’s leadership. The country’s political system has delivered on its citizens’ needs – as long as all leaders and all government levels cooperate towards a common goal.”

They went on to stress “there is still work to do, namely on implementing reforms to economic growth and social justice, the rule of law and the public administration”, that’s why “we expect that the authorities at all levels will ensure that the challenges the country faces when it comes to its judicial system are addressed constructively, in a spirit of dialogue and mutual understanding.”
“Still there are wounds that need to be healed. But together we can help each other to move towards a future of reconciliation…twenty years after the war, it is about time we all looked ahead, towards our common future in a truly united Europe,” Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn highlight the message of hope in their statement.

Joint Statement

Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted its application for membership in the European Union. This decision follows months of hard work by Bosnia’s leadership and, we believe, addresses the aspirations of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted its application for membership in the European Union. This decision follows months of hard work by Bosnia’s leadership and, we believe, addresses the aspirations of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a day of celebration for all of us: only twenty years ago, it was in the Balkans where one of the most awful pages of the European history was written. Today we celebrate another step towards a united and peaceful continent.

And we need unity in challenging times. As some forces across our continent are questioning the very existence of our Union, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s application shows that the need of a united European continent is still strong among our peoples.

The decision to apply belongs to the citizens and government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to them only. But as the European Union – together with our international partners and the international financial institutions – we have strongly invested in strengthening Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European perspective. The two of us visited Sarajevo together just one month after the beginning of our mandate in 2014. In a moment when the perspective of an EU path for Bosnia and Herzegovina looked bleak, we decided to renew our Union’s approach to the country.

The new approach was based on the decision to put concrete issues first – that is, citizens first. A pragmatic choice and a symbolic one: the raison d’être of our Union is to impact on our citizens’ life for the better.

The achievements of this past year on a broad reform agenda are impressive. In fact, we would not be here today if it were not for the country’s leadership. The country’s political system has delivered on its citizens’ needs – as long as all leaders and all government levels cooperate towards a common goal.

We must now seize the momentum gained so far, and keep on working hard. The reforms improving economic growth and social justice, the rule of law and the public administration need to be implemented. The functionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s institutions remains a priority, including through the effective and functioning coordination mechanism on EU matters. The adaptation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement following the accession of Croatia will allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to normalise its trade relations with the Union. The country will continue enjoying the benefits of the advantageous trade and investment regime, while protecting its domestic producers in accordance with the Agreement. Finally, we expect that the authorities at all levels will ensure that the challenges the country faces when it comes to its judicial system are addressed constructively, in a spirit of dialogue and mutual understanding.

Still there are wounds that need to be healed. But together we can help each other to move towards a future of reconciliation. Together, we can build a stronger European continent where all communities live side by side and cooperate beyond ethnic, national and religious divides. Twenty years after the war, it is about time we all looked ahead, towards our common future in a truly united Europe.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn

Q: On Bosnia and Herzegovina

Indeed, today we have good news. Because the fact that we will receive now the membership application is something good. I believe something good for the Bosnian people, something on which the authorities have been working hard. I know something on which the civil society has high expectations. We have as well. It is not the end of the process, on the contrary, it is the beginning of a new phase – which, I have to say, also the European Union has to celebrate. Because in the moment when the European Union is questioned from within, saying that in our immediate neighbourhood there is such energy, willingness to join and to work hard to adapt the country, society, economy, institutions, system to European standards, it is the sense of responsibility we have also towards our European Union citizenship. It is a huge, marvellous project – our European integration – and news like this one of this morning remind us all of how lucky we are that we are living in a continent that is able to bring peace and the ability to live one next to another in peace and cooperation, together.

Q: On the credibility of the application submitted by Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Today we will receive it. Obviously, Member States will look at it, also the European Commission. As I said it is a process that starts, but think of where we were one year ago. I remember that in December 2014, just one month after taking office, I visited Sarajevo together with Commissioner Hahn. We were there several times after that and at that time any possibility to get to this morning was completely out of the radar . I believe that a lot of steps have been made. Again, a lot still needs to be done as we always say. In this case this is true. But if I Iook at the commitment, the public support that has been there in this year to get to this point, I am confident that also the next steps can be done with the same sense of responsibility and commitment by all in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also in our side. [Doorstep remarks of High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini – Full statement.]

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Ceremony and Declarations (videos) :

§ [Part 1]

§ [Part 1a]

§ [Part 2]

§ [Part 2a]

§ [Part 3]

§ [Part 4]

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