Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, Denis Zvizdic, participated at the Western Balkans Summit (WB6 + EU8) that was held in the framework of the Berlin Process in London.
BiH submitted three projects with a total value of 275 million EUR at the Summit in London, and all three of them received the support of the European Commission. At the Corridor 5C in the section Tarcin-Konjic and Buna-Pocitelj in the total amount of 150 million EUR and one project of technical assistance at Corridor 5C in the total amount of 125 million EUR. BiH also received grant funds in the amount of 5 million EUR and 38 million EUR.
In his introductory speech on the topic of the economy, Chairman Zvizdic thanked the host, Prime Minister Theresa May and the Government of UK, and congratulated on the great organization of the Summit and their hospitality. He also expressed his satisfaction with the fact that this year’s summit was held in London because it sent the message that co-operation and strengthening of economic, social and cultural connections between the Western Balkans and the UK will be continued even after the Brexit.
He stated that the year of 2018 was a good year for the entire region in terms of putting the topic of enlargement back on the list of priorities of the EU, starting with the chairmanship of Bulgaria, publishing of the Strategy of European Commission on a credible perspective of enlargement, and the historic summit in Sofia. Moreover, Zvizdic congratulated the Republic of Austria on taking over the EU Presidency, and welcomed the fact that one of their priorities is the enlargement of the EU. He stated that it is important for the focus of the EU to be on the enlargement process and that positive messages were sent in this regard. He also expressed his hope that the next summit within the Berlin Process will include even more positive stories.
Chairman Zvizdic also noted the importance of the Agenda for connecting in key infrastructure fields, which allowed planning and prioritization of key infrastructure directions and projects in the past, and that ultimately led to the economic development of the region. He welcomed all the investment projects that were announced during the summit in Sofia where BiH received grants for three investment projects in the field of transport infrastructure, whose total value amounted to 32.8 million EUR and a grant for technical assistance, whose value amounted to 5, 2 million EUR.
He noted that an essential component was launched in Trieste, which is the support to the establishment of the regional economy and he noted that BiH is fully committed to the implementation of the Action Plan. He also noted that investments have crucial importance and they are the generator of economic development and he also welcomed the establishment of the Regional Investment Agenda as a platform that will give a good framework for approaching investment policies with the aim of creating a unique investment area. He introduced all of the prime ministers with the fact that a total of 84 % of surveyed foreign investors in BiH would recommend BiH as a place for investment, but that it is also necessary to improve political stability, secure the infrastructure and strengthen the rule of law. In this regard, he noted that the Council of Ministers of BiH will continue improving the business environment, primarily through implementation of the reforms under the Reform Agenda of BiH, but he added that solutions to some of these issues should be searched at the regional level.
Chairman Zvizdić noted the currently insufficient institutional support to the research and development area, as a key prerequisite for securing maximum use of the most important resource – young and talented people – in order to provide for their full inclusion into the country’s development. Therefore, he particularly commended the focus of this year’s Summit to financing start-ups and SMEs, as generators of innovative development to transform the existing economies. He added htat out homeland uses many resources, but surely most zthe important part are young nad talented people, so he expressed his sadness for theunemployment rate is high rightly among this grouop of population, stating his hope that rightly through support to approach to funding and development of innovative entrepreneurship the problem would be possible to solve.
He noted the key issue of region’s transition to digital economy and welcomed launching of the Western Balkans digital Agenda in Sofia, the aim of which is to support region’s transition and bring about advantages of digital transformation, in terms of faster economic growth, more jobs and better services to citizens. He said that all the processes discussed within today’s discussion are necessary to take in order to improve the economies of the region and bring them to the level that huge potentials and resources might be fully used.
As to the security theme, Chairman Zvizdić said that the security issue in the context of international relations is the topic without borders, noting that security threats, as well as the organised crime networks are not burdened by administrative and legislative protocols or borders. He said that from there comes the imperative to respond to the shared challenges in a coordinated action, through sustainable and comprehensive approach to include an active participation and cooperation of all states.
He said that Bosnia and Herzegovina takes an active part in combating terrorism, including the fight against radicalisation and violent extremism, and that other than law enforcement bodies, the active engagement is also on the part of civil society organisations and religious communities. He underlined the fact that, according to BIH law enforcement institutions official data, no departure to foreign war zones was recorded over the last two years.
Chairman Zvzidić touched upon the migrant theme, which represents an alarming issue of both the region and EU. He briefed the attendants that since the beginning of this year, 7.300 migrants entered Bosnia and Herzegovina, of which 6.500 said they would seek asylum, and 650 of them formally applied for it, adding that, for comparison, the number of migrants last year was only 766. He stressed the relevance of the theme, because Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the absence of secured common solutions, addressing the challenges, implied by such migrant trends, and EU support in terms of material-technical and expertise assistance, including border crossing service expert assistance, will not be able to respond adequately in case of an increase migrant influx. He added that the issue has two significant aspects, which need to be treated: those being the humanitarian and security aspects. He emphasised the aspiration of BIH to be a part of the joint regional and EU solution.
At the foreign policy, bilateral relations and legacy policy session, Chairman Zvizdić said in his address to the Prime Ministers that the prospect of the EU membership is the strongest incentive to the Western Balkans countries for reforms implementation, as well as for reconciliation and confidence-building efforts, and it provides a strong motivation force and serves as an integration factor. He commended the continuous EU support for the regional cooperation, and renewed emphasis on the Strategy of reconciliation and solving the outstanding issues, including a need to solve state borders issues. He underlined that rightly Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro signed the first Border Agreement at the Vienna Summit, held within the Berlin Process.
“The enduring priority of BIH foreign policy is the promotion of cooperation with neighbouring countries, based on joint interests and principles of equality, mutual respect and respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity. We remain fully opt for solving the outstanding issues with our neighbours through dialogues, complying to mentioned cooperation principles and international law-based principles, in addition to our readiness for a constructive and continuous dialogue to the end of achieving progress in outstanding issues solution-finding”, said Chairman Zvizdić.
Chairman Zvizdić welcomed the fact that this year’s Summit opens a dialogue on very sensitive and painful issues. He said that a dialogue on these topics is needed for the purpose of reconciliation, as to take an accountable, informed and well-argued effort to make us a part of the joint solution which will help close the unpleasant past. He added that we have to be a part of those forces to give a required piety to all victims, while putting the perpetrators of horrific crimes to their right place once for all – the gaol of past – and extinguishing evil spirits forever.
The Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, Denis Zvizdic, signed four joint declarations of the countries participating in the Berlin Process yesterday at the WB6 + EU8 Summit in London.
Chairman Zvizdic, under the authority of the Presidency of BiH, signed the Declaration on War Crimes, the Declaration on Missing Persons, the Declaration on Regional Relations and Mutual Co-operation, and the Statement from the field of the Fight against Corruption.
(Source: Sarajevo Times)