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Brussels, 15 February 2013
Remarks by Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy after the Trilateral Ministerial meeting between the European Commission – Republic of Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Commissioner Štefan Füle chaired today the second Trilateral Ministerial between the European Commission, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the last outstanding border management issues in light of the accession of Croatia to the EU.
Following the meeting attended by Ms Vesna Pusić, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and Mr Zlatko Lagumdžija, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Commissioner Fule said:
''I was glad to host this trilateral meeting on the last outstanding border management issues. I appreciate the constructive spirit we had. Let me briefly summarise what we discussed today:
1. The Commission proposes a special transit regime for exports from Bosnia and Herzegovina through the Croatian Port of Ploče. Thanks to this special regime, vast majority of export and import of agricultural products of animal origin will continue as before entry of Croatia to the EU. This regime will be applicable from 1 July 2013 until Bosnia and Herzegovina itself meets the EU standards. The list as it will stand on 1 July can be further amended on a case by case basis, based on Bosnia and Herzegovina's evolving trade needs.
2. In our discussion we paid special attention to the needs of local population, in the border area. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) transit regime will guarantee the local population's interest. In this respect we will organise an information seminar for the people from these localities still before 1 July.
3. While I welcome the progress achieved so far in the construction works at the border crossing points, I called on both sides to urgently finalise them in order to have the Border Inspection Posts open and fully functional by the time of Croatia's accession.
4. I also welcome the finalisation of the Local Border Traffic Agreement, which will simplify traffic of citizens living in the border areas, of the Agreement on Border Crossing Points, and the Joint Statement on the Neum Ploče agreement. I call on both sides to sign these agreements without delay, no later than the end of May.
5. As for the continuation of the current regime of the use of ID cards when citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina travel to and from Croatia, the Commission took note of the readiness of Croatia to follow up to the request of Bosnia and Herzegovina to maintain it. The final decision rests upon the Member States.
It was a good meeting not only because of the good will and intentions but also because of the good progress achieved. The 1st of July is going to be an extremely important date: Croatia becomes a member of the European Union and Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes a neighbour of the European Union and we all determined that it is to the benefit of both countries, to the benefit of the region.''