European President Jean-Claude Juncker addressed the Parliament of BiH on Wednesday, at the end of his visit to Sarajevo. He opened the speech by greeting the citizens of BiH, which he called “the beautiful country that we and you both work for”.
“The road you started is a natural for a country that is part of Europe, its territory, its history, its culture. We must perfect and consolidate Europe together, its reconciliation, European history and geography. Your future is in the EU, based on fundamental values, which every country must accept”, he underlined. EC President further noted that European road demands and will continue demanding lot of efforts from everyone – political leaders, citizens of BiH – for implementation of essential reforms which citizens ask for. He called on BiH authorities to speak with one voice and to make compromises. “Lack of success creates only blockades, paralysis, unnecessary delays, which harm interests of your fellow citizens and set questions about your resoluteness to join the EU”, he emphasized. Juncker also pointed out that accession to the Union depends solely on a country which aspires to become a member.
He noted that he is proud to be a Luxembourg citizen, but also a European, which does not exclude each other. “This patriotism I am talking about has nothing to do with nationalism, which is directed against others. On contrary! Nationalism, which means hatred for others, is a poison and it is opposite to all European values”, Juncker stressed. During his speech he also mentioned the importance of accession to the EU in context of youth, who will gain safe future in that way. In order to achieve that, he continued, BiH must show it respects the rule of law as well as the rulings of domestic and international courts. “I particularly refer here to your electoral reform. Legal gaps that were determined by the Constitutional Court of BiH must be filled unambiguously and timely”, Juncker emphasized, adding that this matter can be solved on grounds of compromise and understanding. EC President also warned that the reforms necessary for accession to the EU will have to be conducted thoroughly and that some of them will be painful, but that all that is being done in interest of citizens of BiH.
Juncker asked the politicians to get back to implementation of obligations from the Reform Agenda. “Indeed, in order to become a member state of the EU, you imperatively must adopt a series of reforms and translate them into concrete obligations, and all that in interest of your citizens. By doing that, you will put an end to sponsorship, corruption and organized crime”, he was quoted as saying.
During his visit to the Parliament of BiH, EC President also met with Speaker of BiH House of Representatives Borjana Kristo and Speaker of BiH House of Peoples Ognjen Tadic, urging them to try and find a solution for amendments to the Law on Elections of BiH by May.