Thank you President Čović for receiving me today. I would first like to pay my respects to the victims of terror attacks that recently took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Terrorism affects us all and does not know borders, as we witnessed recently with the attacks here and in Paris, Ankara, Beirut, Bamako, and the Sinai.
Together, we must ensure that hope and freedom prevail over fear and terror. This is a common responsibility. I appreciate your commitment to work together to face this challenge. This also includes working to prevent radicalisation and counter the extremists’ narrative.
Another current challenge we face is the migration and refugee crisis. The numbers are unprecedented and the situation is made even worse by ruthless and well-organised networks of smugglers. To regain control, we need a comprehensive plan and coordinated co-operation throughout the region.
I have just visited Belgrade, Tirana and Skopje. And next Sunday, the European Union will have a special summit with Turkey. We also had a summit with African countries two weeks ago. These are all part of the same plan and with the same objective, and that is to stem the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe.
Everyone, including European Union countries, has a responsibility and obligation to secure our external borders and to respond properly to a fast-changing situation. Coordination is key. I am coming here with the same message. The European Union stands ready to assist in stabilising the situation. That includes security and humanitarian aspects, which are of equal importance.
Let me turn to another issue. This month marks the twenty years anniversary of the Dayton agreement. For far too long Bosnia and Herzegovina has been living in Dayton’s shadows.
I personally welcome your country’s new determination with regard to your European Union future. It is crucial to keep pushing a positive agenda. A number of challenges persist. But the momentum must continue for the country to move ahead, and to finally leave the past behind.
Mr President, the European Union will stand with Bosnia and Herzegovina on this path. And I personally will too. I firmly believe that there is no alternative to a European future for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thank you.