Jointly agreed actions in democracy, human rights and rule of law, reflecting Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Europe’s membership commitments and EU integration priorities, are at the heart of the new four-year Council of Europe Action Plan for BiH (2018-2021), launched yesterday by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH, Mr Igor Crnadak and Head of Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo, Ambassador Drahoslav Štefánek.
"The reason we are here today is very important. This is one of the rare few things that have the support from all of the levels of government of BiH. This Action Plan is more comprehensive and encompassing, and it has been prepared in cooperation with all of the levels of authority in BiH. It has received support of Federation BiH, as well as of Republic Srpska. European Union membership is our priority. This Action Plan is, actually based on key principles on the BiH path to EU ", Igor Crnadak said.
The Council of Europe Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2018-2021 was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 13 June 2018. It is a strategic programming instrument which outlines the joint cooperation and actions to be taken by national partners and the Council of Europe, in order to facilitate the fulfilment of the obligations as a Council of Europe member State and the European integration process. A budget of 18.1 million euros is envisaged for the successful implementation of the Action Plan, which includes actions to enhance human rights standards, increase the efficiency and quality of the justice system, fighting against ill-treatment of detained persons, combating corruption, money laundering, terrorist financing, trafficking in human beings, segregation in schools, improving the freedom of the media, and, finally, promoting equal opportunities for women, youth, and Roma.
"I am pleased, as the Head of the Office, that the Action Plan states that the Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo plays a key role in coordinating and supporting the implementation of the projects in the field. Of course, with this nice feeling there goes hand in hand with a corresponding responsibility. I can pledge that I and my colleagues will do their best in this regard", Ambassador Štefanek stated, and underlined "that all our activities are based on the consent and cooperation with the authorities in BiH, whether it is state, entity, cantonal or municipal level. We are not here to impose, but to assist."