Ambassador Sorensen interviewed on TV PINK ‘Zabranjeni Forum’

Head of the EU Delegation/EU Special Representative Ambassador Peter Sorensen was the guest of TV PINK BH ‘Zabranjeni forum’ on Thursday 25 September. He discussed the EU perspective of BiH, the upcoming general elections in BiH, and the activities of the EUD/EUSR in BiH.

Commenting on the current position of BiH in the EU, 17 days ahead of the general elections in October, Ambassador Sorensen said: “For us it is very clear that BiH is part of Europe and it is certainly a country that has a perspective to join the EU. 27 member states of the EU want BiH to be part of the EU. If I can compare BiH with other countries in the region; then the (neighbouring) countries are progressing a little faster than BiH, while it (BiH) does not progress much. We would like to see BiH following other countries in the region and implementing economic reforms. That is how we see the current situation.”

Asked to comment on the possibility of EU intervention, when it comes to constitutional changes in BiH, Sorensen said that days of international intervention are gone. “That will not happen again. As for the EU perspective, we will of course state our views (…) I also believe that this is one of the changes that have been made in the past three years. We are trying to build a partnership with a potential and future member state (of the EU). Everything that we do is based on the principle of partnership and that is what we did in case of economic reforms, during the floods, and so forth,” underlined Sorensen. Asked how to convince citizens in BiH that elections are very important and that they need to vote in the upcoming general elections, he said that citizens should first have faith. “Democracy implies participation, active or passive. If you vote or stay at home, in both cases you influence the election of officials. That is why we believe it is better to vote than to stay at home. It is better to be active and part of the society. That is how countries of the EU are functioning and those are the values on which the EU has been created. We hope and we believe that citizens in BiH will remain interested to participate (in the elections),” he said.

Asked to comment on the fact that the role of the Head of the EUD was strengthened with an EUSR mandate in order to help BiH on its EU path as well as on concrete outcomes of that decision, Sorensen said: “It is not about individuals but about teams. What we have got in the past three years is a unique team of people and thus, all structures of the EU are gathered under the same roof.” Sorensen said that officials of the EU in BiH and BiH’s officials now know more what to expect and how to build a partnership, after they got to know each other much better. “As for concrete data, the financial assistance (of the EU to BiH) was really huge; a little less than EUR 300 million in the last three years, over 400 assistance contracts were signed (…) Those are the things that are being implemented on a daily basis and that is what you have got through the partnership, in the last three years,” underlined Sorensen.

Commenting on results of the EU Info Centre that has started working in Sarajevo in June, 2014, Sorensen stated: “So far, it (the centre) has marked fantastic results. We were not extravagant – we have established a small centre in the building of the EUD. We have had over 1,300 visitors, 30 different groups of people. We also receive questions via social networks. So far, it has been a good experience.” Sorensen announced that the EU Info Centres will also be opened in Brcko, Mostar and Banja Luka.