On 1 June, the European Union’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina enters into force. Commenting on this, Foreign Minister Steinmeier stated:
I am pleased that the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement has provided Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European perspective with a new framework. In return, all political players in Bosnia and Herzegovina have undertaken to implement an ambitious reform agenda. Improvements in the economic and social spheres are to the fore, and that is what citizens expect from their political leaders. The German Government calls on all of the country’s political parties to advance swiftly and decisively with the implementation. Germany will continue to lend its active support.
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement forms the framework for relations between the European Union and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Agreement contains joint political and economic goals. Beyond the trade issues covered by the interim agreement, the dialogue is to be expanded and institutionalised to include other areas which are crucial for closer ties with the EU.
Together with the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Foreign Minister Steinmeier presented a German-British initiative on reviving the reform process in Bosnia and Herzegovina in November 2014. The aim of the initiative was to again create substantial incentives to encourage the country to carry on moving towards Europe following years of reform stalemate. The focus is on urgently needed socio-economic reforms.
Shortly afterwards, the European Union as a whole adopted this approach. Foreign Minister Steinmeier and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond last visited Sarajevo together on 16 January 2015 in order to support the difficult process towards a written undertaking on the part of all political forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They thus underpinned the efforts of High Representative Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn.