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Statement by Ambassador Wigemark on the Reform Agenda of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lars-Gunnar Wigemark

SARAJEVO, 1.10.2015. – Ambassador Wigemark stated: “The most comprehensive package of socio-economic and judicial reforms ever in BiH, the Reform Agenda was adopted by everybody and that is how it should also be implemented.  It reflects the collective desire of the governments both at State and Entity level in response to the wish of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina for real change, stronger Rule of Law and more opportunities.  Such a comprehensive and complex set of reforms can only work if they are implemented as a whole.  It is an integrated package of reforms. This country cannot afford to have these much needed reforms agreed on be picked apart. Picking and choosing is not an option if the living conditions for people of this country are to improve.  For example, to create more jobs the Reform Agenda aims to reduce taxes on working and switch, instead, to other sources of government revenue. It would not be responsible to support lowering taxes on working, while opposing other revenue increases, such as excises.

I believe and expect that all 14 major political parties and their leaders, who all signed the commitment to the EU eight months ago, will help lead the country towards membership of the EU.

The EU and the International Financial Institutions are ready to provide up to one billion euro over three years in direct support to meet the cost of the reforms and will put aside another half a billion euro for investment. This money will, in turn, encourage more private investment and boost the overall economy, creating more jobs and opportunities for everyone.

Change is never easy, but keeping things as they are is not an option. Meaningful progress in the implementation of the Reform Agenda is a precondition for an EU membership application by BiH to be considered by the European Union. It is time for the leaders and people of BiH to pull together and move forward.  The Reform Agenda is not a menu where you pick what you like and ignore the rest.”

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