1. On Monday, we commemorated the 27th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica and some victims are still to be laid to rest. We extend our sympathies to the survivors and to the families and friends of those who have suffered and lost their lives.
2. This commemoration reminds us of one of the darkest moments for humanity and recent European history and of our responsibility to prevent such an atrocity from ever happening again. Far too many perpetrators of war crimes have still not been brought to justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular, and in the Western Balkans region in general. In this regard, the European Union will continue to plead for an end to glorification of convicted war criminals and a sound commitment from its partners in the region with respect to ensuring full cooperation with international tribunals, including on the latter’s decisions.
3. In remembering the victims, we have both the responsibility and the opportunity to work to ensure a better future for the generations to come, a future based on justice and lasting reconciliation, avoiding divisive actions and rhetoric. Collective respect, recognition, remembrance and education on this topic are the basis for building a peaceful and sustainable future for Bosnia and Herzegovina and are cornerstones of regional co-operation.
4. Still today, we cannot take peace for granted. Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified and illegal aggression against Ukraine has brought back a brutal war to our continent. As we see the security and stability of Europe and the international rules-based order, anchored in the UN Charter and OSCE principles and commitments, profoundly shaken, we are reminded of the need to stand up to defend peace, human dignity and universal values. There is no place in Europe for genocide denial, revisionism, and glorification of war criminals.
5. The European Union was built as a common peace project and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s future lies within the European Union. In these dangerous times, we wish to see Bosnia and Herzegovina progress on reconciliation, overcoming the legacies of the past, and decisively advance on its EU integration path. Political leaders must turn words into deeds: they need to choose the truth, justice and cooperation over fear and hate to overcome the tragic legacies of the past and build a brighter and prosperous future for the next generations. We will continue to support Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens to this end.
The Candidate Countries REPUBLIC of NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ALBANIA*, UKRAINE and the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, the Potential Candidate countries BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA* and GEORGIA, the EFTA countries ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as ANDORRA and SAN MARINO align themselves with this statement.
*Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process