The European Union Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi today, after the meetings with B&H officials, said that his message to domestic leaders was to commit to political dialogue and reviving the European agenda for B&H.
- Only then can this country fully realize all the benefits that come from European Union programs and funds, including the European investment package, which is a fundamental package of EU assistance aimed at improving the economy and supporting the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic - said Várhelyi.
He says that B&H is an important beneficiary of this program and its implementation would enable the implementation of those key projects, which were previously agreed with the local authorities.
- However, this realization, in turn, requires urgent action. Some of the examples of projects are in the field of transport, such as Corridor Vc, which includes not only the motorway but also the railway traffic. Then demining of the Sava River, securing the road connection on the route Sarajevo - Podgorica, the gas interconnection between B&H and Croatia. In general, this whole plan represents a significant chance for B&H to completely transform its existing economic model and to make a step forward in terms of green and digital transformation, i.e .to go further in the direction of gradually reducing dependence on coal as raw material - said Várhelyi.
He also underlined that in order to fully enjoy all the benefits that come through this type of assistance, it is necessary to have urgent measures and activities to be taken, and in order to ensure the right assistance, including in the context of recovery after the pandemic.
- We need to have functional institutions at the level of B&H. Decisions are still awaited that will ensure the realization of significant investments. Otherwise, there is a danger that these infrastructure investments will be lost. We are talking about almost 1.5 billion euros of infrastructure investments or 90 million euros that still remain for implementation under IPA for 2022. Without these urgent decisions, there is a danger for B&H not to be a participant in the next year and numerous other programs such as the Creative Europe and Horizon 2020 programs, - Várhelyi emphasized.
He conveyed the message to the political leaders to use the existing offer of the European Union in the sense of political and financial support provided to B&H, which will enable its recovery.
- That is why it is necessary to have a constructive dialogue and the will of all parties and stakeholders. Any boycott and blockades on either side are absolutely unacceptable and do not benefit anyone. We expect all political leaders to bring back their attention on the implementation of reforms - said Várhelyi, who is on a two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.