European Western Balkans

BiH youth deserve a brighter future and authorities must deliver to make it possible

Afzal Khan, Tanja Fajon, Gianni Pittella, Bakir Izetbegović and Knut Fleckenstein

SARAJEVO – A delegation of the Socialist and Democrat Group, led by president Gianni Pittella, is paying a three day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The delegation is composed of Knut Fleckenstein, vice-president of the Group responsible for foreign policy and Eastern partnership, Tanja Fajon, vice-president and member of the delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo, and Afzal Khan, Group rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During today’s meeting with BiH Presidency Chairman Bakir Izetbegović, the delegation discussed BiH’s integration path towards the European Union, with special focus on the rule of law, ethnic coexistence, minority rights and the global threat of terrorism.

Tanja Fajon, S&D Group vice president stated:

“I expect a functioning coordination mechanism to be urgently adopted, otherwise the positive momentum for BiH’s EU path might be lost. BiH has to be speaking with one voice vis-à-vis the EU and the lack of coordination means also a lack of EU funds. It is also crucial to speed up the implementation of the reform agenda and all the necessary economic and social measures. The massive brain-drain of young BiH citizens must be stopped and they should be given a promising perspective.”

Afzal Khan, S&D Group rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, commented:

“Religions must finally turn from a divisive element into a powerful leverage to build up cultural and political bridges. Especially in Bosnia where religions have been abused and politically exploited. The S&D Group is fully aware of the great importance embodied by inter-religious dialogue and we deeply support all the efforts that aim to enhance social and ethnic cohesion. We firmly believe that the future of Bosnia is in the EU. We urge the Bosnian political authorities to advance the process of reform in order to turn ambition into reality.”

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