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Deputy Eamon Gilmore

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Snippet Contents:

Ireland, and indeed all 27 member states of the European Union, fully and firmly support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU perspective as a future member state. It was with the intention of further strengthening its policy and its presence on the ground that the EU took the decision in July 2011 to establish a single, reinforced EU representative who would take a lead in supporting the country’s progress towards integration with the EU. Peter Sorensen took up the double-hatted role as EU Special Representative and head of the EU Delegation on 1 September 2011, with a four-year mandate. As we approach the halfway stage in that mandate it is appropriate that we look at the progress made and assess our strategic approach in Bosnia. There is no doubt that progress has been disappointing. There had been hope that the transformative power of EU accession and the attractiveness of membership of the European Union would encourage Bosnia’s leaders to make the painful reforms required to move towards accession. While there has been progress in some areas, there has been no agreement on implementing the European Court of Human Rights ruling on the Sejdić-Finci case. Failure to implement this ruling hurts the citizens of the country first and foremost.
I agree with the Deputy that now is the time for a comprehensive review of the EU’s engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina. I believe this can best be done in the context of a review of the EU Special Representative’s mandate.