The Office of the European Union Special Representative (EUSR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina has launched the ‘Take Initiative’ (‘prEUzmi inicijativu’) project, within which public debates on the challenges and opportunities offered by the EU accession process will be held in nine local communities across the country.
Participants concluded that access to the EU funds would encourage economic development, and assessed that one of the biggest challenges laid in harmonizing country’s legislation with the EU acquis.
”I believe that the European Commission will soon publish its Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership application, which will confirm that BiH could become an EU Member State. Of course, there is a lot that will need to be harmonized with the EU regulations and legislation”, Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative Lars-Gunnar Wigemark said during the first debate, which was organized on Thursday in Ilidza.
“The European integration of BiH, above all, requires the participation of all citizens and complete transparency of all processes, because in that manner our role, the role of the EU representatives, will decrease and the responsibility of BiH citizens themselves will increase”, explained Wigemark.
The discussion with over 100 entrepreneurs, representatives of public institutions and NGOs, was also attended by British and Spanish ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Matthew Field and José María Valdemoro Giménez respectively, as well as by domestic and regional experts.
“Citizens want to see a stronger rule of law, better public services, jobs and growth. Citizens need to demand from elected politicians to do precisely what they were elected to do. All these reforms will bring the country closer to the EU”, said Ambassador Field, adding that the United Kingdom is present in many projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ambassador Giménez emphasized that the EU and its Member States are prepared to support all institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina that work towards European integration. “There are many challenges that BiH will need to respond to on its EU path, which is why it is necessary for it to direct all its strength into reform processes”, he said.
Public debates will be held in another eight local communities across the country in the upcoming period.