European integration and NATO membership are very important to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina; they are two main foreign policy goals and an important pillar for stability in the Balkans for the economic development of the region, the Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said in Bucharest on Thursday.
“From the very beginning, I want to thank Mrs. Prime Minister (…) for support. Support for integration with the European Union is very important to Bosnia and Herzegovina… We in the Western Balkans use the notion of integration, instead of enlargement of the Western Balkans, because geographically speaking we are also part of Europe, and hence our use of the word. We discussed some important priorities to our co-operation, and also to the Western Balkans and our European perspective. We emphasise preserving freedom and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a region of the Western Balkans is a step forward towards the democratization of our society. The fight against crime and extremism is also important; economic growth is important, the Berlin process is important to us, which is an important goal. We talked about infrastructure connection, because it is very important to economic development, the development of the region, to the connectivity of the young people, and I mentioned that these are important steps forward in the integration of the Western Balkans with the European Union,” Zvizdic said on Thursday at a joint news conference with Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.
He added that during the talks he presented to Dancila the progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina over the last four years with European integration.
“We were a credible partner to the EU in all our planned activities, culminating with the submission of our answers to the European Commission questionnaire containing 450 questions; our answer was 25,000-page large. What is most important is that Bosnia and Herzegovina over the last 4 years has done a very good job, just like the Western Balkan countries when they were granted the EU candidate country status. We respect all the procedures, we look forward to receiving a positive opinion from the European Commission and we hope that Bosnia and Herzegovina will be given the status of a candidate country. (…) We are pleased with the progress made by our neighbors; I am convinced that both Albania and [North] Macedonia have to start negotiations, but we are convinced that Bosnia and Herzegovina should receive this candidate country status. European integration and NATO membership are very important to our future, are two main purposes when it comes to foreign policy; they are an important pillar for stability in the Balkans, for economic development (…) to stop the departure of young people from the Western Balkans and the region. That is why we want to have a dialogue that will contribute to the development of stability in the region and we are convinced that we will continue to respect the internationally recognized borders in the Western Balkans. We will also respect the agreements signed with our neighbors, Croatia and Serbia,” Zvizdic said.
The Bosnian Prime Minister said that as far as bilateral economic co-operation go, discussions indicated that there is a wide area for co-operation in various fields, such as energy, metallurgy, automotive, agriculture, IT, innovation, research, education, and tourism.
About tourism, Zvizdic pointed out that there is a rapid development of the sector, with the prospect of flights between Bucharest and Sarajevo.
“Co-operation at this moment does not reflect the potential that exists (…). We agreed to develop this co-operation, to hold forums to include the chambers of commerce of our countries,” said Zvizdic, ACT Media reports.