Strasbourg, 24.04.2012 – “Ten years ago to the day Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Council of Europe. In 2002, this sent out a strong message and constituted an opportunity for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to advance along the road to European integration.
With membership of the Council of Europe came new opportunities: several major reforms have been introduced, such as defence reform, the launch of the police reform and the establishment of a unified ombudsman institution,” declared PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon, speaking today.
“Political life, however, remains marked by ethnic division, interfering with the smooth functioning of institutions and hampering the move towards European integration. A number of major reforms are still in abeyance, as noted by our Monitoring Committee and, in particular, the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the Sejdic and Finci case, which calls for a radical overhaul of the constitutional framework, has still not been implemented. I remain optimistic however: the only way for us to advance is through co-operation and I am glad that Mr Zlatko Lagumdzija, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be addressing our Assembly on Wednesday, followed by an exchange of views. I also have every confidence in the commitment of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their political leaders to European integration,” said Jean-Claude Mignon.
The President ended by welcoming the international donors conference on durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons which opened today in Sarajevo. “The primary purpose of this conference is to secure donation pledges so as to be able to introduce a programme to help house the 74 000 or so refugees and internally displaced persons. I firmly believe that this operation will not only be beneficial for the region as such but above all shows that there is real political will and a desire to find solutions.
As President of the Assembly, I cannot but support this historic initiative, for which, indeed, we expressed such earnest hopes in Resolution 1855 (2012) in January this year,” declared Jean-Claude Mignon, calling on Council of Europe member governments to contribute generously to this operation.