Bosnian FM: Western Balkans has a European future

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak on Thursday said that the European prospects for his country and the entire Western Balkans remain open and that European Union (EU) enlargement will not be jeopardised with Brexit.

"It is very important for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the other Western Balkan countries that the EU is resolved to continue the enlargement process. The result of the referendum in Great Britain will not affect that," Crnadak told reporters in Sarajevo.

He emphasised that that was a clear message that was being sent in the wake of Brexit by the most influential European statesmen. "When you hear that from people such as Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, that is a clear message from Europe when it comes to the Union's enlargement," the Bosnian minister said.

He underscored that that was being concluded based on this week's summit of EU and Western Balkan officials held in Paris. It is also clear, Crnadak stressed, that all countries in the region that are not members of the EU wish to achieve that and are committed to reforms essential on that path.

Commenting on the fact that despite verbal assurance by the country's officials to continue a journey towards the EU, Bosnia-Herzegovina is nevertheless blocked in that process, Crnadak said that this was the consequence of someone "gathering minor political points," which could truly jeopardise the country's European future.

Ahead of an EU foreign ministers' council meeting on July 18 to consider, among other things, approving Bosnia and Herzegovina's candidate status, Crnadak warned that Bosnia and Herzegovina's foreign policy goal was to continue on the European path however, if that date were to be missed, it would take at least six months before a similar opportunity was available.

"This (opportunity) has not been yet missed, even though the chances aren't big," he said calling for the restoration of trust between key political actors in the country, without going into detail.

Approval of candidate status currently depends on Bosnia and Herzegovina's adaptation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and the establishment of a single mechanism to coordinate relations with the EU. Both these matters are being questioned by the "Republika Srpska" Serb entity.

Crnadak is convinced that the coming NATO summit in Warsaw will send "positive signals" for Bosnia and Herzegovina even though it is certain that the country will not be given the green light to activate the Membership Action Plan (MAP) due to unresolved issues regarding military property which again is being questioned by the Serb entity.

Last update: Thu, 07/07/2016 - 17:51
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