Foreign Minister Kotzias’ statements following his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Igor Crnadak (Sarajevo, 16 July 2015)
N. KOTZIAS: It is wonderful to be here today, in the historic city of
Sarajevo, in a peaceful and secure Sarajevo, together with a Minister
whose birthday is the same as that of our Prime Minister, 28 July.
Bosnia is one of the friendliest countries in all of Europe for us. I would say that we are among the few exceptions, where two countries have no problems between them. That is why the only problem we have is how to further develop this good relationship.
We support Bosnia and Herzegovina in its relations with NATO. We support its EU accession perspective. We are the oldest member of the European Union in Southeast Europe, and the state that has organized the two latest EU enlargements, towards the Scandinavian countries and Austria, and towards the countries of Central-eastern Europe. That is why, whatever you need, we can provide help and support, with our specialists and our technical expertise.
Moreover, what we agreed with the Minister – and I thank him very much – is that in the decade of the 1990s we looked to develop Balkan cooperation. In the first decade of the 21st century and in recent years, we have looked to develop the course towards Euroatlantic institutions. Now we have to combine these. We have to strengthen the course of Bosnia and the other Balkan states towards the European institutions, but we also need to strengthen cooperation in all fields, from culture and education to major projects. The major projects are economic, infrastructure, such as roadways, trains, energy networks. We are two new governments, but we are making a new start that will benefit our peoples, the Balkans and Europe itself.
And I want to underscore that no one is doing Bosnia a favor when we pave its way to Europe. Bosnia incorporates many institutional systems, many cultures and peoples. It is a model of positive energy for all of Europe.
And here in Sarajevo, my friend Minister Crnadak, I dream of the day when we will say, “Welcome to Europe, to the European Union.” Until that time, we need to do a lot of work, together. You will have to do more, but we, too, will do what we can.
I thank you for your hospitality and your kindness, and I hope to find some opportunity for the Greek delegation to come for a longer stay, to admire your beautiful city, Sarajevo, and all the beauty of Bosnia.