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Pittella: BiH leaders must close 20th century and open to a common European future


15 Jun 2016


Europe's East

At the end of a three day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina and after having met the president of Srpska Republic, Milorad Dodik, and several representatives of local NGOs, the president of the S&D Group Gianni Pittella has reaffirmed the S&D Group's hope for BiH's European perspective. Accompanying president Pittella on the mission were 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.

Gianni Pittella, president of the S&D Group stated:
"It is high time for Bosnia and Herzegovina to close the 20th century and finally start building a new future. A new future for the next generation of this country, who are fed up with ethnic divides, surreal languages differentiation and unemployment; and who see migration as a unique chance to have a decent future. BiH leaders, be they Croats, Serbians or Bosniak, should stop considering EU just as a milking cow, but as the only real possibility to take Bosnia and Herzegovina into the 21st century.
"Positive momentum can only be delivered through real steps forward on the reform agenda, the adoption of a functional coordination mechanism and of a reliable census. We firmly call on BiH leaders to deliver. The S&D Group will keep working in the EU institutions to preserve the momentum and to increase the attractiveness of integration into the EU.
"Ethnic nationalism is holding the future of young generations hostage. The European path is the key to set this country free. Our message to BiH and its leaders is clear 'help us to help you!'"

Knut Fleckenstein, vice-president of the Group responsible for foreign policy and Eastern partnership, said:
"All Bosnian and Herzegovina young people should stop living the past of their fathers and demand the building of their own future. Especially the youth organizations and the NGOs who represent the critical voice of society and should have a greater influence on the political life of the country. Migration cannot be the way out. The daily brain drain is sucking the lifeblood from the whole of the country. Instead of speculating on ethnic boundaries, linguistic divisions, discrimination and religious radicalization; BiH leaders be they Croat, Serbian or Bosniak, should focus on job creation, education and solidarity. Europe is ready to play its part in political and economic terms. Proceeding along the EU integration path would be a sign of good will to free BiH's next generation from the burden of the past.

See some of the BiH coverage of the mission here.


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