Candid discussions about the slowdown of EU expansion and the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo, 16. 4. 2019 | press release
Slovenian President Borut Pahor is currently on a two-day working visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
President Pahor met in Sarajevo with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, led by its Chairman Milorad Dodik.
The leaders emphasised the two countries’ good and traditionally friendly bilateral relations, which are marked by mutual respect and understanding. Economic cooperation between the two countries is particularly strong, and therefore President Pahor expressed satisfaction that his visit and participation in the opening of the Sarajevo Business Forum also had a strong business component.
The close cooperation between the two countries is also reflected in the orientation of our development cooperation, as Bosnia and Herzegovina is the largest single recipient of Slovenian development aid. Slovenia allocated approximately EUR 20 million in funding for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period from 2010 to 2018.
The leaders particularly focused on the upcoming meeting of the leaders of the Brdo Brijuni Process. They concluded that the regional initiative has led to several positive shifts in dealing with unresolved regional issues and is one of the rare opportunities when all of the leaders of the countries of the Western Balkans can meet and exchange views. President Pahor, as the co-chairman of the initiative, presented plans relating to the Brdo Brijuni Summit, which will be held on 8 and 9 May 2019 in Tirana.
The members of the Presidency briefed the Slovenian president on the progress of key reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina with respect to its progress on the path to the EU, and described the current political situation in the country after last year’s parliamentary elections. President Pahor stated that it is now important to quickly form executive branches of government that should continue to implement the reforms and the EU process.
President Pahor noted that Slovenia is promoting Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress on the path to European integration, as we want Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a stable and safe country with good economic prospects. Slovenia actively supports Bosnia and Herzegovina both on the political level and in concrete terms: Slovenian experts provide assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina by sharing knowledge and experience in various fields. The Slovenian President once again noted that the expansion of the European Union to the countries of the Western Balkans has to be looked at as a geopolitical and not a technical issue.
President Pahor further stated that the EU convergence framework is predicated on constructive cooperation at all levels of Bosnian government and an internal political dialogue of tolerance. The president emphasised that the role and responsibility of the Bosnian Presidency is of key importance in this context.
The leaders also talked about the political, economic and security conditions in the Western Balkans. They agreed that the political situation and relations among the countries remain sensitive, and that the stability of the Western Balkans is not a foregone conclusion.
President Pahor noted that Slovenia supports the promotion of good-neighbourly relations, settling unresolved issues in the region, reconciliation and the strengthening of regional cooperation.
This evening, at the invitation of the South Eastern European Youth Network and the Munja social innovation incubator, the president will participate in a discussion with representatives of youth groups and organisations that work with youths on reconciliation as the foundation for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The youths will talk to President Pahor about their life experiences in the post-war country and present their vision of a shared life and cooperation between the nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, about the effect of the education system on the views of young people, about political responsibility for publicly expressed views, and how to create a space in which young people will be able to identify opportunities for living a normal life. They will discuss how cooperation and social innovation can be used to create peace and synergies among the country’s different nations in order to provide a bright future for young people.
Tomorrow, on Wednesday, 17 April, President Pahor will participate at the 2019 Sarajevo Business Forum, where he will be the keynote speaker.