The path of the countries of the Western Balkans towards membership in the European Union (EU) is too long and the Union itself has made mistakes in that field, said the President of the Republic of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar in Sarajevo today, who arrived on a two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the afternoon, Pirc Musar was received with military honors by the chairman and members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željko Komšić, Željka Cvijanović and Denis Bećirović, with whom she held a meeting, and then the delegations of BiH and Slovenia met.
The focus of the talks were bilateral relations, economic cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia, as well as the approach of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the European Union, i.e. meeting the conditions for the start of accession negotiations in March, said Chairman of the BiH Presidency Željko Komšić.
“It would be a very bad message if we did not get the opening of negotiations. We should take care of that side of the coin when we talk about the European path. We touched on economic relations, politically they are at a really enviable level. We also talked about economic cooperation. Economic exchange is for our opportunities and size on an enviable basis and we can certainly be optimistic that the cooperation will continue in a mutually satisfactory manner,” said Komšić after the meeting.
He thanked the Government of Slovenia for the support of BiH and everything that is important for the peace, stability, security and progress of BiH.
Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar expressed her satisfaction that she visited Sarajevo on the 40th anniversary of the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo.
“That was the success of all the republics of the former state,” said the Slovenian president at the beginning of her address.
She said that Slovenia and BiH are historically connected and that the friendship between the two countries has not changed.
“No one can take away our friendship and I am convinced that it will last for a long time. Slovenia is your great friend, ally. Slovenia was one of the countries that supported Bosnia and Herzegovina’s path to the EU. We talked with many countries and we achieved that on the 21st March in Brussels to discuss BiH again and the possible start of negotiations”, said the Slovenian president.
She added that all 27 EU member states must do their part by then.
“The EU made its own mistakes along the way. The path of the countries of the Western Balkans is much too long, in my opinion. We, as the EU, must look in the mirror and in the coming weeks do everything to give BiH the opportunity to start pre-present negotiations,” Pirc Musar said.
She added that Slovenia will continue to help Bosnia and Herzegovina on that path and that this country deserves EU membership.
“It is a natural geographical feature of your country. You belong to the European Union,” said the Slovenian president.
She reminded that this year Slovenia is celebrating 20 years of membership in the EU and that the past two decades have shown how much membership in the Union actually benefited that country and the increase of its gross domestic product.
“Inside the EU, it is often not easy to harmonize the interests of 27 member states. But we must remember, politics is the art of making compromises. If it is difficult to make compromises within 27 member states and so many different interests, I dare to say that within these three nations it should be easier I welcome the conclusions of today’s meeting of the leaders of the political parties of BiH that they have harmonized 90 percent of the open issues. The work does not end there, neither on your side nor on ours. I wish that March 21 in Brussels will be a joyful day for BiH and that BiH will become a ‘team’ in the near future. Europe'”, said the President of Slovenia.
She reminded that elections are being held in the European Union in June and warned that the political picture in Europe could change.
“I appeal to all of us, let’s take advantage of the moment and do everything to ensure that BiH meets all the minimum conditions for the green light to be given on March 21,” said Pirc Musar, adding that Slovenia will continue to help BiH along the way without any hidden intentions.
As announced, Pirc Musar will also visit members of the 48th contingent of the Slovenian Army, who operate within the EUFOR Althea military mission and the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo. A meeting with the President of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Borjana Krišto, and representatives of both houses of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina is also planned.
During her visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the president of Slovenia will also participate in the ceremonial academy on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo.
On Friday, Pirc Musar will attend the event “DiplomatSKI” organized by the Embassy of Slovenia in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when a new ski track will be officially opened in honor of the legendary skier and Olympic silver medalist – the Slovenian Jure Franko, AA writes.