Common press briefing by Štefan Füle, Tonio Borg, Vesna Pusić, Croatian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, and Zlatko Lagumdžija, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 19 June 2013, Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Tonio Borg, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, Zlatko Lagumdžija, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vesna Pusić, Croatian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, and Vjekoslav Bevanda, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed three important bilateral agreements between the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the European Commission, in Brussels.
The signature took place in the framework of the third Trilateral Ministerial meeting on border management issues in the light of the forthcoming accession of Croatia into the EU. The Joint Interpretative Note on the Neum/Ploče Agreement, the Border Crossing Point Agreement and the Local Border Traffic Agreement are fundamental for the smooth implementation of border management rules of the EU after the accession of Croatia.
On this occasion, Štefan Füle underlined that these agreements are a historical milestone in the EU integration process of the Western Balkan countries. In less than 2 weeks, the EU will be the direct neighbour of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country will benefit from the EU, now that it comes so close. The common market of the EU with more than 500 million inhabitants will be at the door of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This means great opportunities for all citizens and for the economy of the country. The EU has been able to grant Bosnia and Herzegovina a special transit regime for the export of agricultural products of animal origin from Bosnia and Herzegovina to third countries through the port of Ploče. Such derogations are extremely rare. They will allow the country to continue to use the port of Ploče in Croatia for its agri-food sector.
Štefan Füle and Tonio Borg reminded Bosnia and Herzegovina to transpose EU legislation and to set up the necessary administrative control structures to allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to export its agricultural products of animal origin to the EU, including Croatia.
Štefan Füle also encouraged Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue working with the good spirit of mutually acceptable solutions, in order also for Bosnia and Herzegovina to make considerable progress on its EU integration path.