Wednesday, June 18, 2008


LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg (June 18,2008) – Transcript of the Bosnian President Dr Haris Silajdžić’s address at the ceremony of signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union (EU), Luxembourg - 16.06.2008 :

"I will say only few words. Of course, it is my great pleasure and extreme honor to have the opportunity to address you and express our gratitude to all of those who have helped us to come to this moment.

Of course, our old friend Javier Solana was the one working with Bosnia for a long time; he was here during the most difficult times and I thank him for it.

Mr. Rupel, during the chairmanship of Slovenia, but before it as well, has been with us for a long time. I thank all our friends for everything they did and will do in the future; I also thank Olli Rehn who has become our friend and who has been working tirelessly and I thank Miroslav Lajčak as well for, at times, very hard work he had to do trough all complexities of Bosnia's system.

I thank EU Ambassador Dimitris Kourkoulas and all other Ambassadors who came to Bosnia to help us.

What we expect from a union such as the European Union, when I talk with our citizens, I see that they primarily want security and stability, that is the first thing on their list; second is a better education and of course, a better life.

What we expect is more democracy and more rule of law, which is important not only for Bosnia, but for the countries in the region, including respect for international law.

I must mention something that has not been present often in Bosnia, especially in relation to the last year’s verdict of the International Court of Justice, and in my opinion, it certainly has not been forgotten, but it also has not received the deserved attention - the Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement and the refugees that must return to their homes.

We still have not fulfilled it yet - the unfulfilled commitment from the Dayton Peace Agreement. In any case, we need real democracy and that is my opinion. We need more democracy and less ethnocracy in Bosnia. We need more free citizens.

Bosnian citizens must have the right to join EU as European citizens, regardless of the part of Bosnia they live in.

Our citizens must be equal and have a possibility - all Bosnian citizens must be in position to be elected to all executive positions, including the highest ones, and have equal opportunity wherever they may live, and they have not had it so far - we must change it as well.

What Bosnia has to offer EU, besides its space, I believe are human resources and resources of the energetic sector as well. Those resources can help in solving the European problem; we also have water that is an important resource nowadays, but we also have something else. The fact that Bosnia is an authentic multicultural community, where we have lived, not one beside the other, but with each other, and if we can maintain that coexistence principle in Bosnia, then Bosnia should be able constructively to contribute to a very important dialogue, not only in Europe, but in the entire world.

I am positive that Bosnia wants to play that role and can play that role, because it has been like that for hundreds of years: authentic, multicultural and multiethnic country; and we must stay that way and that will be a true victory for us all!

Especially so today, when we need examples like Bosnia, with all its failures and successes and I know we will play a constructive role in that sense.

I remain optimistic and I believe that with plenty of work and good will, we will continue our journey toward the full-fledged EU membership and I am certain that Bosnia will be a constructive member of EU, when the time comes.

Thank you.”

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