International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Austrian and Italian FMs express full support for High Representative in BiH

March 10, 2023

After meeting with BiH officials in Sarajevo on Friday, the foreign affairs ministers of Austria and Italy, Alexander Schallenberg and Antonio Tajani, expressed support for the High Representative of the international community in the country, Christian Schmidt.

Schallenberger and Tajani said at a press conference after meeting with BiH’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Elmedin Konakovic, that their countries fully support BiH’s EU integration.

“The EU has not delivered its part. Twenty years and we haven't done the job. Now we have a new opportunity and one of the solutions is the EU integration of this area. Schmidt is a good man who builds bridges and is engaged in it. It is not an easy job and we support his work”, Tajani said.

Schallenberg agreed, saying that the EU must step up its efforts and arguing that Schmidt has a difficult job and needs the support of the people of BiH.

He said that Schmidt had to use his Bonn Powers to help BiH and that the people of the country should view him as a “partner” in the long term.

Schellenberg noted that BiH was granted EU candidate status last year and stressed that this represents a new opportunity for the country.

“After Russia's aggression against Ukraine, we are in a different geopolitical situation and this is an opportunity that must be used. Austria is one of the biggest investors here and will remain so. We are one of the countries that takes advantage of your brain drain, but we are not happy about it. Too much time has been lost and you have 14 key priorities that you must fulfil and we will help you there,” he said.

Konakovic said that BiH’s new government has a policy of compromise and that it was not expected that the President of BiH’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, Milorad Dodik, would change his “secessionist rhetoric” overnight.

“No one expected that Dodik would change his rhetoric and give up some of his set goals verbally and that he would side with Europe in the event of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. We announced compromise policies and had the most swiftly elected female mandate holder for the formation of the Council of Ministers and the elected Council of Ministers in history. We hope that we will have an adopted budget and strong institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the legal deadline,” he said.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/austrian-and-italian-fms-express-full-support-for-high-representative-in-bih/ 

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