Tuesday, April 1, 2008


BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (April 1,2008) – EU needs to remain consistent in its approach towards the southeastern European countries and reward them in accordance to their progress in reform processes, the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak stated at the EU foreign affairs ministers’ meeting held on Saturday in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia.

Lajcak informed the ministers on current political situation in Bosnia and participated in ministers’ discussion on strengthening of peace and stability in the southeastern Europe.

”We need to be pragmatic and we need to focus on what is possible in a certain moment. At the same time, we clearly need to say to the political leaders in Bosnia what is expected of them in every phase of the EU integrations processes. Conditions need to be fulfilled and they primarily need to have a motivating force”, Lajcak said.

He stated that the EU integrations processes are a strategic challenge for Bosnia. Political leaders and parliamentarians will have an opportunity to show how they can cope with the challenge on April 2, when the Bosnian Parliament decides on the police reform laws.

”Adoption of the laws would enable signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and would finally open the country’s way to the EU”, High Representative stated.

Also, he reminded the ministers that the true reconciliation will not take place as long as the persons accused of war crimes and genocide, primarily Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, are free.

”Reconciliation is impossible to achieve without justice”, he said.

He concluded that Bosnia needs to be focus of the EU’s attention in future, among other, because of the very fact that the EU will, after the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) transition, will take over the key role in supporting the Bosnian reform processes.

In a joint statement of the EU Presidency issued after the end of the foreign affairs ministers’ meeting, participants emphasized that the joint interest is continuation of political and economic reform processes in an accelerated rate, as well as protection of minority ethnic communities.

As stated, certain progress has been achieved through stabilization and association processes in the past few years. All the achievements need to be rewarded.

Commenting the visa regime liberalization processes for the countries in the region, the statement makes it clear that the European Commission is in the process which will end in initiation of negotiations on liberalization of the visa regime with all the countries of the region, with an emphasis that there are some “realistic priorities and criteria” which will enable visa-free traveling.

”Regional cooperation, good relations between the neighboring countries and an obligation to find acceptable solutions to the open issues between the states are still important elements for the entire region on its way to the EU”, the Presidency announced.

The ministers also estimated progress aspirants for the EU membership have achieved in the process of negotiations.

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