Merkel on Balkan tour, hoping to increase influence

Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged Germany's support for Bosnia in the ethnically divided country's efforts to move closer to the EU

Merkel on Balkan tour, hoping to increase influence

World Bulletin / News Desk

Chancellor Angela Merkel had a short stop in Bosnian capital Sarajevo on Thursday, there she had meetings with the chairman of Bosnia's council of ministers, Denis Zvizdic, as well as the chairman of its three-person collective presidency, Mladen Ivanic.

Merkel urged all autonomous authorities to work together in order to implement economic and social reforms championed by Germany and Britain in a joint initiative launched last year. 

"In Bosnia we see problems which have to be overcome," Merkel said. "The region can function if Bosnia is developing well."

In the beginning of 2015, all three, Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian, members of the presidency signed an agreement over reforms, which are needed to be implemented to meet the Copenhagen criteria. In June, however, leaders of Republika Srpska refused to sign off some of the plans. 

Despite the Serbs refusal, Mladen Ivanic is confident Bosnia will apply for European Union membership by early 2017 at the latest.


"We remember the Srebrenica genocide"

July 11 is the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, in which around 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces. Therefore, Merkel visited the Srebrenica Massacre Memorial Museum and met with members of the "Mothers of Srebrenica," an organization that represents relatives of the victims of the massacre.

"I came here at the time when we remember the Srebrenica genocide... I think that we all need the courage to create such a future in which really horrible things could never happen again," Merkel told reporters.

"It is particularly important to remember the victims and to reflect on the past, but that should be done along with an eye on the future," Merkel said.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Temmuz 2015, 12:14