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At the Sarajevo Business Forum, President Pahor calls for Bosnia and Herzegovina to given EU candidate status as soon as possible

Sarajevo, 11. 5. 2022 | press release

Today, 11 May 2022, Slovenian president Borut Pahor attended the 11th Sarajevo Business Forum (SBF) at the invitation of chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Šefik Džaferović, and was one of the keynote speakers at the opening of the event.

President Pahor’s central message to the SBF participants and the wider public was that the process of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession to the European Union needed to be accelerated, and he advocated the allocation of candidate status to the country without additional conditions being placed on it. In his opinion, this would change the dynamics of negotiations and inject new hope into the desire for the country to have a future within the EU.

Mr Pahor also used his speech to welcome in-depth discussions of business opportunities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The SBF has shown itself to be one of key forums for discussions regarding economic development in BiH and the wider region. The president pointed out that political stability was a precondition for economic development, and that the war in Ukraine had shown how brittle peace in Europe could be. In his opinion, this was a sharp reminder that we all had to behave with more responsibility and resolve our differences peacefully. He called on the political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to redouble their efforts to overcome their political differences and achieve political stability,

and expressed the strong conviction that the European Union was the answer to all the issues faced by that country and by the entire Western Balkan region. He stressed that ‘the European Union is of vital importance to ensuring peace and security,’

adding his sincere wish for Bosnia and Herzegovina to enjoy a safe and successful future and emphasising that this safe and successful future was closely connected to EU accession. Mr Pahor believed that the European Union should also act accordingly, as it was in everyone’s mutual interest for the policy of EU enlargement towards the countries of the Western Balkans, and particularly towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, to be more transparent. He called for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be given the status of candidate member as soon as possible. He restated his position that Bosnia and Herzegovina had to be given candidate status as soon as possible and without any further preconditions. In exchange, the country should commit itself to making the necessary reforms. This was necessary if the country, and the EU as a whole, was to enjoy a safe and prosperous future. At the end of his speech the Slovenian president again stressed that the issue of EU enlargement into the Western Balkans was, first and foremost, a geopolitical one.

Before the start of the forum, Mr Pahor held a meeting with Željko Komšić, a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the two men focusing on the current political situation within the country.

The Slovenian president has given keynote speeches to the Sarajevo Business Forum in the past, most recently in 2019. The SBF, which every year attracts business and political figures from across the wider region, provides significant impetus to economic cooperation and the search for new business opportunities. Slovenia is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most important economic partners. BiH is home to more than 100 companies with majority Slovenian ownership employing more than 15,000 people across the country.

At the Sarajevo Business Forum, President Pahor calls for Bosnia and Herzegovina to given EU candidate status as soon as possible
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS