Address by Ambassador Sørensen at the reception on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of EU accession

In honour of the 10th anniversary of the accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia to the EU, a reception was hosted by these countries in Sarajevo on the evening of 7th May.

On this occasion, Ambassador Peter Sørensen, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative addressed the guests:

Excellences, distinguished guests,

I am very glad to be here with you today to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2004 EU accession together.

The last decade began with a severe global economic crisis. But the EU has responded with solidarity and has pursued closer European cooperation to bring lasting economic growth and welfare. The continued strengthening of the EU integration process has served to help preserve a stable Euro economic Area.

The EU has taken important decisions on competition, innovation and infrastructure that are now starting to bring about economic growth. At the ‘core’ of this policy is ‘job creation’ reflecting how the citizens are at the heart of what the EU cares about.

EU Enlargement itself remains the best tool for strengthening peace, prosperity and security in Europe. The challenge now is to stay focused on core EU commitments, principles and values. That is why the EU’s focus in 2014 is on strengthening economic governance and the institutional capacities of all democratic institutions and public administration, especially here in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to better serve the wider public good.
We will continue to strive to ensure that all countries aspiring to accede the EU establish a solid track record on reforms so that, when they enter the Union, they are able to play a full part in the club.
Here in BiH, it is very clear what the citizens of this country want and we are convinced that the enlargement process will help to realise their aspirations.
They want to live and work in a country that functions properly. They want good governance, fairness and the rule of law. They want jobs and greater prosperity for their families and local communities. They want merit and experience to mean something. They want a greater say in the delivery of local public services – in education, in healthcare.
The EU will assist BiH in that endeavour. We will be working together with the citizens and authorities in the month to come on economic reforms for the sake of all people of BiH and for the sake of accelerating BiH’s journey towards the EU.  
Again congratulations to those that are hosting us tonight. And congratulation to the EU for its enlargement policy and keeping it alive. We now need to see BiH catching up with its neighbours and joining the rest of the region.

Thank you!