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Bosnia: Italy's amb., candidate status is a historic event

Italy can play a 'central role in the accession process.'

24 February, 14:17
(ANSA) - SARAJEVO, 24 FEB - "The decision should be interpreted as a political and moral message more than 25 years after the end of the war and 20 years after the Thessaloniki European Council that had paved the way for enlargement policies to the Balkans. But it also represents an injection of confidence for the population and civil society, especially looking at the younger people who unfortunately continue to leave the country because of the absence of solid prospects. The decision also encourages the new legislative and executive authorities to pursue the path of reform without delay." Further delays "could, on the other hand, have reinforced feelings of disaffection and distrust toward the EU, creating spaces for further penetration by third-party actors who have agendas that do not coincide with the European one," the ambassador explained, going on to stress the importance of the reform process, which is necessary for the country's progress and stability. And the EU goal could also become a "glue between political forces and different ethnoreligious components for responsible government actions that respect the general interest." Bosnia, at the same time, still faces internal difficulties. Di Ruzza underlined "the issue of forming the new government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina." Then there is also the long-standing issue of the failure to adopt "constitutional amendments to implement the 2009 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the Sejdic-Finci case," which should rule out discrimination affecting, in the political sphere and representation, those who do not belong to one of the three constituent peoples. But work still needs to be done on the "serious and widespread phenomena of corruption, reforms on conflict of interest and the rearrangement of the judiciary's self-governing body. Reconciliation processes must also be encouraged at all levels. Recently, we supported a project with a strong symbolic value launched by the District of Bricko, the inauguration of a monument dedicated to all the victims of the war. There are very few examples of this kind in a country that tends to favor selective commemorations of the martyrs of that brutal conflict." From an economic perspective, among the priority areas of intervention, "I would mention the energy sector, particularly the renewable energy sector, which is essential to combat air pollution." Generally, "the country's growth prospects remain closely intertwined with resolving political and social problems. The implementation of the most urgent reforms is hence a priority not only from the perspective of the accession process but also to build a solid and credible future for the country and its youth." In this framework, Italy can play a crucial role. "Italy," Di Ruzza explained, "continues to be among the most convinced supporters of the integration process. The bilateral relationship with Bosnia and Herzegovina is key to bringing the country closer to Europe. In this regard, "the Italian-led European twinnings" and "the actions of our Development Cooperation and AICS" on a variety of sectors, such as "health, phytosanitary, sustainable tourism development, inclusive education, enhancement and protection of environmental heritage and biodiversity, cooperation with police forces, and the fight against organized crime, should not be forgotten." And "we are proud to have succeeded in restarting the project of the Museum of Contemporary Art "Ars Aevi," designed by Renzo Piano, which seemed to have been hopelessly blocked for years." Not forgetting, "the economic dimension," with Italy being "the leading exporter and among the absolute top trading partners and the Italian system producing about 12 thousand jobs." In addition to the desire for the EU, Bosnia feels the desire for rapprochement with Nato, well seen in Sarajevo, despite the opposition of the Bosnian Serbs. "The war in Ukraine has once again confirmed the importance and mutual benefits for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Europe of a stable inclusion of that country in the European security architecture: in this sense, the Euro-Atlantic integration path, which must rely on the aspirations of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian people and the democratic will of their government, maybe the compass of Bosnian foreign policy," Di Ruzza said.

However, "the Nato issue continues to appear politically controversial and divisive. Therefore, at the moment," the ambassador added, "I think the main goal should be more about consolidating the partnership between Nato and Bosnia and Herzegovina. From this standpoint, the confirmation of Deputy Foreign Minister Josip Brkic as head of the relevant governmental commission offers a fruitful sign of continuity with the work of the previous executive." (ANSA).

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