The European Union and Bosnia and Herzegovina held a Counter-terrorism Dialogue on 1 October in Sarajevo, which focused on ongoing and future cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU in the area of counter-terrorism and preventing and countering of violent extremism. The EU regularly holds such dialogues with partners in the interests of global stability and security, and this was the first counterterrorism dialogue to take place in person outside of Brussels since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the second counter-terrorism dialogue that has taken place between the EU and BiH.
As a result of the first dialogue the EU and BiH signed a bilateral agreement on counter-terrorism on 19 November 2019 for the implementation of the Joint Action Plan on Counter-terrorism for the Western Balkans agreed by the EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Forum on Justice and Home Affairs on 5 October 2018. The Dialogue in Sarajevo on 1 October 2021 provided an opportunity to discuss the state of play with regard to the key objectives of this agreement, as well as further counter-terrorism engagement beyond 2021.
The five objectives that the EU and BiH have established together are: Alignment of legislation and institutional infrastructure; Countering and prevention of violent extremism, Sharing of information and cooperation with EUROPOL; Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism; Protection of citizens and critical infrastructure.
Both sides agreed on the importance of cooperation to address security challenges and threats and discussed the obstacles to meeting the joint objectives as well as the necessary measures needed to make progress.
The EU was represented at the Counter-terrorism Dialogue by Charles Fries, Deputy Secretary General at the European External Action Service for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response and Olivier Onidi, Deputy Director General at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs. Bosnia and Herzegovina was represented by senior representatives of the state Ministry of Security, the Ministries of Interior of both entities and Police of Brcko District of BiH.