Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Presidency Bakir Izetbegovićc participated in a high-level conference “European Union-Western Balkans: How to Build a Common Future Together” held in Brussels.
Speaking at the panel entitled “Enhancing socio-economic development through regional connectivity and digital economy”, Izetbegović stressed that, in the past four years, after a long period of stagnation and blockades Bosnia and Herzegovina has succeeded in jumpstarting processes on its path to EU integration.
Chairman Izetbegović also spoke about the significance of regional cooperation, emphasizing the unimpeded movement of goods, services and capital, and reflected on the recently completed General Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, their results and the need to implement the elections results and form the government.
The aim of the conference is to emphasize, throughout two-panel discussions, Group’s support to the EU integration processes of the region.
“One can be in favour or against the EU enlargement policy but nobody should ignore that the region is being watched with appetite by other great powers. In reality, the EU soft power is already competing with foreign political influence, foreign investments and even different cultural or societal models. That is why EPP Group will continue to fully support and accompany the six countries, their institutions and all its citizens through their democratization and modernization processes towards the EU Membership”, organizers’ announcement reads.
The key messages of the conference, according to the announcement, are support to political dialogue between EPP and region’s countries, judging every country on an individual basis according to its merits, as well as insisting on reforms in the fields of rule of law, fight against corruption and bilateral cooperation.
The conference will be opened by the Chairman of the EPP Group Manfred Weber, while introductory remarks will be delivered by Andrey Kovatchev, Vice-Chair of the EPP Group responsible for Enlargement and Mediterranean Policy.
Two panels – “Increasing cross-border cooperation and tackling security issues” and “Enhancing socio-economic development through regional connectivity and digital economy” – will then take place, the first one moderated by Elmar Brok, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the second one by Eduard Kukan, Chair of European Parliament AFET Working Group for the Western Balkans.
EPP-affiliated parties from the region will be represented by Bakir Izetbegović, Chairman of the BiH Presidency and President of the Party of Democratic Action, Lulzim Basha, leader of the Democratic party of Albania, Aleksandar Nikoloski, Vice-President of Macedonia’s VMRO-DPMNE and Agim Veliu, Vice-Chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo. Montenegro will be represented by the Foreign Minister Srđan Darmanović and Serbia by Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimović.
Also taking part, among others, will be Dubravka Šuica, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Alojz Peterle, Chair of Delegation to the EU- former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee and, and Mairead McGuinness, Vice-President of the European Parliament.
The conference will be closed by the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and Joseph Daul, President of the EPP.