Várhelyi holds video conferences with BiH leaders

Olivér Várhelyi; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS / SARAJEVO – European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi held video talks with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zoran Tegeltija, as well as Presidency members yesterday.

According to N1, Tegeltija and Várhelyi discussed the current situation in BiH caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman Tegeltija expressed gratitude for the support provided by the European Union to BiH in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The interlocutors jointly pointed out the necessity of concluding the negotiations for the macro-financial support of the European Commission as soon as possible. On this occasion, the European Commissioner for Enlargement expressed the EU’s readiness for additional support to the health sector in BiH, in accordance with the expressed needs, and informed the Chairman of the Council of Ministers about the economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans to be presented by the European Commission.

Speaking about BiH’s European path, Chairman Tegeltija pointed out that the focus of the Council of Ministers’ work, despite the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, is on the prospect of gaining candidate status and opening accession negotiations on EU membership.

Várhelyi next spoke to Presidency Member Milorad Dodik. He confirmed the EU committed to supporting BiH in face of COVID19, including with the Economic & Investment Plan.

He also stressed the need to continue reforms towards 14 priorities of BiH’s EU integration and underlined the importance of concluding the agreement with Frontex.

With the Presidency member Šefik Džaferović, Várhelyi discussed, among other issues, the migrant crisis and the way to solve it. Džaferović reminded that only certain parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which Bosniaks make up the majority, were affected by the crisis. He called for the support of the European Union in strengthening the capacity for the protection of the BiH border, in order to reduce the influx of migrants, as well as for the EU to make additional efforts at its external borders to deter migration, N1 reports.