Bosnia initials SAA

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn and Bosnian PM Nikola Špirić yesterday initialed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA).

Source: B92, Beta
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Rehn expressed his satisfaction that Bosnia-Hercegovina had initialed the SAA and stressed that all EU member-states had been approved the decision.

The commissioner added that the agreement was important as Bosnian citizens would receive direct benefits.

“Conditions for trade will be improved, economic conditions, cooperation between Bosnia-Hercegovina and EU members will improve in areas such as combating organized crime,“ he said and reiterated that yesterday’s agreement represented “a drop towards candidate status.“

Rehn said that the agreement would lead to the establishment of an investor-friendly environment.

The commissioner congratulated the country’s political leaders “for acting to normalize political relations in the true European spirit,“ as well as High Representative Miroslav Lajčak “for his considerable contribution and efforts in bringing about such an important occasion in Bosnia-Hercegovina.“

"This way, the Bosnian political leaders have shown that they were mistaken when they predicted a political crisis,“ he said, adding that Bosnian officials would, from now on, control their own destiny, but within an EU framework.

Rehn expressed the hope that initialing the SAA would encourage the country’s politicians to continue working on reforms and EU membership.

After the initialing ceremony, Špirić stated that Bosnia-Hercegovina had waited a long time for this moment, and expressed the country’s desire to join the EU.

“From today, our nation will carry out the same tasks as other countries before Bosnia-Hercegovina to become EU members,“ declared the prime minister, stressing that the country could overcome hardships, provided it concentrated on respecting the agreement.

He added that “success can only be achieved through compromise, dialogue and mutual respect.“

To Špirić’s mind, only when all the countries that geographically belong to Europe are united “will the EU have accomplished its noble mission.“

“The physical expansion of Europe is the expansion of democracy, stability and peace, and Bosnia-Hercegovina can show by example that it is a part of this world,“ the prime minister added.

He reiterated that the country was conscious of all the difficulties and commitments before it, adding that Bosnia-Hercegovina had, via the SAA initialing, been offered “instead of independence, the chance to sew hope for a better future.“

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