Presidents of BiH, Croatia and Serbia meet for more economic cooperation, EU accession

March 7, 2018 8:00 AM

BiH, Croatia and Serbia agreed to improve relations, resolve infrastructure issues, as preconditions for a regional economic environment and EU accession, Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) Presidency Dragan Covic said on Tuesday in Mostar, a city some 120 km south of Sarajevo.

The trilateral meeting of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and three Members of BiH Presidency: Dragan Covic, Bakir Izetbegovic and Mladen Ivanic aimed at enhancing the economic environment between neighbouring countries.

In a press conference after the trilateral meeting, Covic said that counterparts discussed the opened questions that can help in stabilization of economic, social and demographic situation of neighbouring countries. Furthermore, the essence of the meeting was finding the connecting points of three states in the European Union (EU) enlargement strategy.

“The essence is associated with the EU enlargement strategy, we have looked for the meeting points that could improve relations and solve infrastructure issues, all of which are preconditions for a regional economic environment that can be better than the one we have today,” Covic said.

“We can make a positive synergy and positive step forward and intensively move towards the EU,” Covic concluded his speech.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic pointed out that the last trilateral meeting on Presidential level was held six years ago and that this meeting was very expedient. Grabar-Kitarovic recalled that Croatia respects BiH integrity, sovereignty and supports BiH on its path towards the EU.

“Croatia will advocate the BiH European path and candidacy to happen as soon as possible, “Grabar-Kitarovic said.

The possibility of cooperation between three neighbouring countries can be seen in linking of traffic, energy and infrastructure and in joint participation in numerous energy related projects, Grabar-Kitarovic emphasized, adding that those will help in joint economic and political empowerment.

For his part, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic emphasized on the importance of peace and stability between three countries and pointed out on the enhancement of trade by 14.2 percent between Serbia and Croatia in 2017 and 13.1 percent with BiH during the same period.

As one of the key topics for Serbian government, Vucic emphasized the enhancement of infrastructure as well as building the Sarajevo-Belgrade road. He added that the infrastructure is one of the six concrete flagship initiatives stated in European Commission’s (EC) Strategy for the Western Balkans.

Vucic stressed that Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) has brought a lot of good and political stability, but that it has reached the peak of cooperation in economic spheres. For the end of his speech, Vucic  expressed hope that the next trilateral meeting will be held in Serbia.

The trilateral meeting of presidents of BiH, Croatia and Serbia was held for the second time — the first was in 2011 at Brijuni Islands in Croatia.

(Photo: Fena, Emanuel Soca)

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