Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on the 27th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide

We honour for the 27th year the memory of all victims and of all those still missing of the genocide of Srebrenica. We stand together, in grief, with their relatives and friends who survived the genocide.

However, still today we cannot take peace for granted. Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine has brought back a brutal war to our continent.

The mass killings and war crimes we see in Ukraine bring back vivid memories of those witnessed in the war in the Western Balkans in the 1990s.

It is more than ever our duty to remember the genocide of Srebrenica, as part of our common European history.

As we see the security and stability of Europe and the international rules-based order profoundly shaken, we are reminded of the need to stand up to defend peace, human dignity and universal values. Europe has not forgotten what happened in Srebrenica and our own responsibility for not being able to prevent and to stop the genocide. In Srebrenica, Europe failed and we are faced with our shame.

In these dangerous times, we wish to see Bosnia and Herzegovina progress on reconciliation, overcoming the legacies of the past, and decisively advance on its EU integration path. Political leaders must turn words into deeds: They need to choose the truth, justice and cooperation over fear and hate to overcome the tragic legacies of the past and build a a brighter and prosperous future for the next generations.

There is no place in Europe for genocide denial, revisionism, and glorification of war criminals. All citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina deserve a society where pluralism, justice and human dignity prevail.

The European Union was built as a common peace project and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s future lies within the European Union. This will however require all the country’s leaders working to put peace, reconciliation, mutual understanding and dialogue at the top of their agenda, and engage on the EU reform agenda.



Photo by: Srebrenica Memorial Center