Thank you very much. It is really a pleasure for me to be back in Sarajevo, having the opportunity to meet with the Council of Ministers, the Presidents, the Presidency and then the political leaders.
I remember very well the last time I was here, too long ago, but it is true we meet very often, either in Brussels or in other opportunities. Two years ago I was here, I think two or three times in a very short period of time, to launch what we were presenting at that time as a new path for the European Union perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
And I remember two things very clearly, one was the skepticism of many on the possibility that Bosnia and Herzegovina could have actually moved forward on the European Union perspective. And the second, the energy of especially the younger generation of this country, but I would say of all the citizens of this country, and their desire to join the Union, their profound feeling of being Europeans, which is something they are, but also this big, strong support to the European Union path of the country.
And I think that two years after that, the country can register impressive steps on the European Union perspective. Some of these steps are already turning into some positive trends when it comes to economic growth: I know that this is already bringing some first signals of trends that are encouraging, for instance, in the economic growth.
I also know that these first steps, these first signals of growth are not yet translating directly to changing significantly the life of the citizens, but important thing is to recognise when a part is correct and the trend is encouraging to sustain the work that has been done and encourage further steps. This is exactly what we discussed today and we will continue to discuss and work on in the coming weeks.
For the European Union, it is of strategic importance that Bosnia and Herzegovina continues on this path, on the European Union path, the perspective of joining our family with the same determination, and the same unity and the same constructive attitude that the leadership, the Council of Ministers and the Presidency has managed to show in these last two years. This work, this leadership and this determination is recognised and acknowledged by the European Union institutions and this constitutes the basis of our common work on the European perspective of the country.
This requires from our side consistency and I think we have shown that when we see hard work and progress, we do recognise and support it. On the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina side, this requires sense of responsibility towards their citizens, unity and determination on continuing on the reform agenda and on the European Union perspective of the country.
I know very well that there are challenges, there are challenges that are related to the country itself, there are challenges related to the region, there are also challenges that we share globally. But I am 100% sure that the leadership of this country has the capacity, the wisdom and the responsibility to overcome and manage these challenges as it has been the case for the last two years; and the European Union will be at their side to make sure that this brings fruits for the population of the country.
So what is at stake for us is peace which is not a minor thing to mention in this city, it is stability, security, economic opportunities for all of us, regional cooperation and what I call the reunification of our continent. Because this is not the European path of Bosnia and Herzegovina, because you are already European, this is the perspective to join the European Union that is at stake, and this is a shared objective we have that we are working at that direction. We are working together, you can count not only on me personally, but also on the European Union to continue to work together on this direction.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I134282