Remarks by the Head of Delegation/EUSR in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Europe Day reception

Dear President Izetbegovic, Chairman Bevanda, President Dodik, Ministers, Excellencies, colleagues, dear friends very welcome to the ‘EU House’.

I can’t start to say how big honor it is to see all of you today. When I arrived in September last year I wouldn’t have thought that would be the case.

It is therefore real pleasure to hold my first Europe Day reception in Bosnia and Herzegovina for all of you partners and friends. I welcome in particular also my friends in the EU family COM EUFOR and Head of the EU Police Mission.

We have since the 1980s been using the 9th May to commemorate the beginning of the great peace and prosperity project that the European Union became. We commemorate the work of many men and women through the decades to build unity and solidarity between European nations. Today I would like to take the opportunity to turn my thank to my own dedicated staff who enduring my methods of working, thank you very much.

Over the past year we have seen progress here in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A new Council of Ministers is in place. Two new essential laws – the State Aid and Census Law – which represent key steps undertaken on your road towards EU integration. So the EU is here. You are here. And we are working together.

It is important that we are working together because citizens of this country want us to do so. This is clear. Every measure I see tells me that the people of this country want EU membership to become a reality. It is our joint responsibility – institutions, politicians, civil society – to make it happen for them, all other concerns and interests aside.

2012 could be Bosnia and Herzegovina‘s European year. Our contract – the Stabilization and Association Agreement, could enter into force if a credible effort on implementing the ruling in the Sejdic-Finci case is made.

In return, the European Union is committed to the European future of Bosnia and Herzegovina and ready to provide technical and financial assistance.

Peace. Solidarity. Co-operation. Achievements for citizens. All the old goals of Schuman’s are still the European Union’s goals, they are relevant today and they are relevant for us here.

On a personal note I’ve seen in my first ten months here is underlining that I fully believe that together we can fulfill this things, and on behalf of the EU in Bosnia and Herzegovina I assure you that we are ready. We look forward to our future work and continued partnership with all of you and faster progress for this country towards its membership where it belongs.

Once again thank you very much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me tonight.