Dear Commissioner Füle,
Ladies and gentlemen!
I wish to thank Commissioner Füle for the organization of this gathering today, which is the first of its kind.
These meetings should become a regular practice, because we need a more intensive political dialogue with the highest officials of the European Union.
I see today’s meeting as one more confirmation that the doors of the European Union are open for us. However, it is our responsibility to use this opportunity betters, so that we speed up the process of the accession of our country to the European Union.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a complex country with a difficult burden of the newer history. Our constitutional and political system is based on a peace agreement. That peace agreement is as it is and could not have been different because its goal was to satisfy the needs of the conflicting parties so that they have the mechanisms of protection against dominance. And such mechanisms are, in their nature, the mechanisms of stopping, and not the mechanisms of initiating.
Bosna i Hercegovina je kompleksna država sa teškim bremenom novije historije. Naš ustavni i politički sistem je baziran na mirovnom sporazumu. Taj sporazum je takav kakav jeste i nije mogao biti drugačiji zato jer mu je cilj bio da zadovolji potrebe suprotstavljenih strana da imaju mehanizme zaštite od dominacije. A takvi mehanizmi su, po svojoj prirodi, mehanizmi zaustavljanja, a ne mehanizmi pokretanja.
There are opposing emotions and differing views on the past and the future in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because of that, it is hard to reach compromises, and particularly via consensus on important questions.
Still, building of European future and integration into the EU is a clearly expressed wish, intention and interest of all in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And there are several reasons for this.
Firstly, the European path is the only realistic platform on which a long term stability and prosperity of our country can be assured.
Secondly, we are aware of the advantages which the EU accession brings. It is in our absolute interest to be a part of the association of organized states among and within which there is peace, understanding, the rule of Law, equal standards, high level of human rights protection and culture of dialogue.
And thirdly, the process of association itself, that is, the adjustment to the legal heritage of the EU and the standards which are there in the various fields of social activities is important to us. That process represents a tool for reforms which we will utilise to create an organised society and functional state which guarantees prosperity.
Despite the awareness and readiness, expressed wish and recognised interest, Bosnia and Herzegovina seriously and every day increasingly lags behind the rest of the states of the region in the process of European integrations.
Therefore, the question we need to answer is: How do we make and maintain long term progress on that European path?
Before all, we have to look towards and dedicate ourselves to the future. We must stop with wrangling on what happened before and finally devote ourselves to reaching agreement on what can and needs to be achieved.
The European future of Bosnia and Herzegovina can only be built on the basis of compromise which recognise interests and rights of all: the state, both entities, all three of the constitutive peoples and all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
That is why the future reforms should not be directed towards the centralisation, nor should they be directed towards decentralisation, but towards integration, coordination and synchronisation.
We need to avoid situations in which any part of our country should feel jeopardised or neglected. The state, entities and cantons, as well as the Brčko District must have their property over the process of BiH integrations to the EU, for in any different way we would be facing blockades and procrastinations.
European Officials expect Bosnia and Herzegovina to communicate with the EU with one voice, the precondition for which is that all communication from our side be agreed in advance and within the framework of the existing institutions, at all levels of government.
A complex structure of our state has been a serious challenge in the process of agreement reaching and negotiations with the EU representatives.
The main problem is the absence of possibility of solving political disputes within the institutions, as well as the absence of obligation for the tasks taken to be executed.
Therefore, it is of the greatest importance for us today to recognise the need and to reach fundamental consensus in establishing a single functioning and efficient mechanism of coordination of the European actions in BiH.
This mechanism of coordination must not be cumbersome. It must be “institutionally and politically correct”, that is, it must respect the Dayton Constitution organisation and the existing organisation of the state apparatus and in that way to represent an efficient upgrade of that apparatus.
It is necessary for this mechanism to formalise political coordination, which will have an obligation to solve open questions and disputes, and to give compulsory directives to experts and persons in charge at all levels of government. Besides that, we must strengthen the capacity of the state services in order for them to be able to carry out these tasks.
The today’s meeting is taking place at the time of another political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the Federation. It is due to that fact, of which we all here are very aware, I am inviting you to make sure that this gathering of ours passes in the atmosphere of tolerant talks focused on what we are all here for and on which we all agree. And that is the acceleration of the process of the EU accession. At this moment, all our mutual misunderstandings should be put aside for the sake of the higher cause.
I expect us all to clearly express readiness to, in the spirit of compromise, take necessary steps in order to fulfill all the conditions for membership application submission which would be considered credible by the EU. The most important of those is the implementation of the Sejdić – Finci Ruling. It would be an extremely good message to send if at today’s meeting we agreed to fulfill these conditions within the precisely set deadlines.
I am certain that we will have enough wisdom and the European way of thinking in order to cope with the challenges before us. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a European state, the Europeans live in Bosnia and Herzegovina and it is time for that ship to be anchored in her home harbor.
That historical task is of this generation of politicians and I firmly believe that we all are aware of it.