On Wednesday (7 October), Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met his opposite number from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor Crnadak, for talks at the Federal Foreign Office. Alongside ways of intensifying the close bilateral relations between Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina, European migration policy and the reform process in Bosnia and Herzegovina were the main focus of the meeting.
“There are many Bosnians living in our country: many are doing vocational training here, while others are scoring goals.” Foreign Minister Steinmeier stated at the start of the joint press conference with his Bosnian colleague Crnadak that relations between Germany and the Balkan state were close and that this was not only demonstrated by the fact that Hertha had a chance of gaining a place in the Champions League thanks to the goals scored by forward Vedad Ibišević. The two Foreign Ministers meet on a regular basis, their most recent meeting having taken place at the Western Balkans Summit in Vienna just under two months ago.
Continuing the courageous reform agenda
Current bilateral and European issues were the main topic on the agenda of this first official visit by Foreign Minister Crnadak to Berlin.
The German Foreign Minister expressed his hope that the political, economic and social reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be resolutely continued. He expressed his satisfaction that the process he initiated together with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond had led to a “courageous reform agenda”. Crnadak replied that the German-British initiative had been embraced with gratitude by people in his country because progress had quickly become visible. Steinmeier said that even if the reform process required continued perseverance and patience, it was in the interest of everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He said he hoped that the process would continue and that the preparation of the referendum in the Republika Srpska had not yet been finally decided.
Refugees: EU and transit countries in a dialogue
Turning to the large-scale influx of refugees, Foreign Ministers Steinmeier and Crnadak stressed that a joint European solution was needed. Foreign Minister Steinmeier reaffirmed that no country could master this challenge alone. As transit countries, the Balkan states, in particular Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, had been faced with a mammoth task in the last few weeks. Germany, too, had a heavy burden to bear due to its refugee admission policy. Steinmeier stated that, among other things, Germany was hoping that the meeting in Luxembourg the next day (8 October) between EU Foreign Ministers and representatives of key transit countries would produce results. Furthermore, he went on to say, he hoped that the talks on refugee policy underway with Turkey would be successful.