Foreign Minister Schallenberg and His Italian Counterpart Traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: March 13, 2023; 00:27 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and his Italian counterpart Antonio Tajani traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina where they talked to several representatives of the country about the EU support for the country's reform and its general path towards the EU.

Foreign Minister Schallenberg (r) traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina with his Italian Counterpart Antonio Tajani (l) where they met with their Bosnian Counterpart Elmedin Konakovic / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

On March 10, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and his Italian counterpart Antonio Tajani traveled together to Sarajevo, where they met Foreign Minister Elmedin Konaković, Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers Borjana Krišto, and the State Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisting of Bosniak representative Denis Bećirović, Croat representative Željko Komšić, and Serb representative Željka Cvijanović. The agenda of the one-day visit also included a meeting with the High Representative of the International Community in Bosnia, Christian Schmidt, and a visit to the national contingents of the EU mission EUFOR Althea.

The purpose of the trip was to further encourage the political leadership of the Western Balkan state, which officially became an EU candidate last December, on its much-needed reform path in implementing the priorities outlined by the European Commission, particularly in the areas of rule of law, anti-corruption, and electoral law.

With their joint trip, the Austrian and Italian foreign ministers implemented what they had decided during the first bilateral foreign visit of the new Italian foreign minister to Vienna in December 2022. For both of them, the EU integration of the Western Balkans is an important matter.

Especially against the backdrop of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and the increasing geopolitical uncertainties, reforms for European integration in the Western Balkans were an investment in a secure and prosperous future in the entire region. At the same time, the two foreign ministers stressed how much they appreciated that Bosnia and Herzegovina showed solidarity with Ukraine and joined the overwhelming majority of the international community in condemning the Russian invasion in the UN General Assembly.