Transcript of the press statement following the meeting with FBiH President Zivko Budimir and FBiH Vice-President Svetozar Pudaric

Amb. Peter Sorensen (PS):


Good morning. Thank you very much. It is good to see you all again. You should know I have started my rounds of courtesy calls. I was at state level on Friday, today is Federation time, tomorrow I go to Republika Srpska. I used the opportunity to exchange views with the President and his associates to explain what I already said on Friday.


The EU commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina is there. We are here as an expression of that. We are here to make this happen. As I assured President Budimir, the EU is strongly committed to the eventual goal of the EU integration of a sovereign and united Bosnia and Herzegovina.


We want to be partners with authorities in your country. Both the BiH authorities and the EU Delegation have our work plan laid down in the Council Conclusions on Bosnia and Herzegovina from 21 March this year.


It is important that, in the short term, we focus on facilitating the efforts to get Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement into force.


Although the requirements for that are well known, I would like to take the opportunity to stress once again that this requires overall a proper implementation of the Interim Agreement, which is part of SAA and already in force. In particular, this means adopting an EU-compatible State Aid Law; this means seeing credible efforts regarding following up the ruling on the Sejdic-Finci case.


In addition, this means also that we are ready to assist with the population census law if you so wish.


The EU has dedicated more than 660 million euros of pre-accession assistance for the years 2007-2013. That is why setting effective coordination mechanisms in place in the country in order to let the IPA programming go forward is an issue to be addressed as a matter of urgency. We, the EU, stand ready to discuss the challenges, and we are here to assist wherever we can.


In my conversation with the President, I have underlined it is of great importance that State and Entities institutions establish close relationship in the matters of EU affairs coordination and harmonisation of EU-related legislation.


And as I said to some of you already on Friday, I will repeat it again, this will all be done, from our side, in partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s institutions. I am looking forward to meeting and getting down to work with all the leaders and representatives at all levels.


Thank you very much for coming here. Thank you very much for showing the interest.


President Budimir, thank you very much for a good first meeting. It was a courtesy meeting but we got down to business immediately.  




Journalist #1:

Do you think that FBiH authorities were appointed on the principles of democracy in Europe, in European countries, bearing in mind it was imposed by decision of the Office of the High Representative and not recognised by relevant BiH instutions?



It is very clear we are coming into a country that was established and confirmed in the Dayton Agreement. Institutions were put in place there, they are to do various things. You make a reference to the Office of the High Representative, I understand they played a role in formation of this government in the way they did. This is the government that is in place. They are the ones we are working with.



Journalist #2:

You mentioned at the press conference on Friday that EU will help in drafting Census Law. How do you plan to do this?     



The way we have done it up until now has been that Commission has been put its experts available to those who are drafting law. We will not draft it. We will help people draft it. That is very much the essence of the way that we are, and will be in the future, working with Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have a number of experts available. We have, in some instances, like on the census…we are coming into an area which is close to the so-called EU Acquis. In that respect, it is very much for the various candidate and perspective candidate countries to enact legislation that is basically the Acquis. It is much easier if you want to join the EU club that you actually write the rules the way we have already established them.


Therefore, what we offer is: people will come, tell you how it is done in the EU, and then it is for authorities here to draft the law. It is their law, it is your law, but we will tell you how it should be if you are to join our club. That is the way we are going to do it. I understand quite bit of effort on the specific cases has been put into place already. I am sure, if need be, that our experts are willing to come back and help the institutions if they need to have an explanation one more time how we would like to see it. That is how we are going to help. But that is not only on this, it is on all legislation. That is the way we are doing it. Easier to do it right first time rather than have to change it later on.