‘A YEAR OF PROGRESS FOR BIH’: Ministers of Foreign Affairs are on an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina…

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The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Austria and Italy, Alexander Schallenberg and Antonio Tajani, are arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina today to meet with Bosnia and Herzegovina. officials discussed the reforms that are needed in this, as stated by the Austrian media, “a chronically politically paralyzed Balkan state” that has been a candidate for EU membership since December.

Austria’s state news agency APA states that Austria is one of the biggest supporters of the country’s approach to the EU, and that the new Italian right-wing government also wants to be more involved in the Western Balkans.

It is stated that the two will meet in Sarajevo with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmedin Konaković, members of the Presidency of BiH and the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of BiH Borjana Krišto.

The one-day visit also reportedly includes a meeting with the high representative of the international community, Christian Schmidt, and a visit to the national contingents of the EU mission EUFOR Althea, reports

As announced by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the conversation with Bosnia and Herzegovina. to the officials, Schallenberg and Tajani want to “emphasize the call for reforms, especially in the area of ​​the rule of law and the electoral law”. It is stated that Schallenberg and Tajani wrote in a joint text that in 2023

It is also reported that the two of them stated in a joint comment that 2023 “must be a year of progress for Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

“Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have waited too long. Too many years have been lost to economic and political stagnation. “Too many talents, young people and families have left the country,” said Tajani and Schallenberg.

They emphasized that it is now up to the policy makers in BiH to deal with long-term problems and initiate reforms in order to speed up the European integration of the country, and they demand that BiH, as a candidate for EU membership, harmonize its positions with the EU’s common foreign and security policy in relation to to Russia.

“Because the road to Europe is not a one-way street. And we must be clear about this: the road leads through Brussels, not through Moscow,” they stated.

In an article by the APA agency that was reported by several Austrian media, it is stated that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s approach to the EU is hampered by “ethnic conflicts between Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks” and that BiH received the status of a candidate for EU membership in December despite the lack of progress in implementing the necessary reforms. . The reason for granting the candidate status was, among other things, the concern that the country could otherwise be more oriented towards Russia or China, it is stated.