Some of the region’s most influential politicians appeared at the opening ceremony of the 21st International Economic Fair in Mostar on Tuesday in a joint effort to boost regional economic cooperation.
The five-day event was officially opened by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic who said that the only way to make progress was through regional cooperation.
“Mostar has not only become the centre of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also of the region,” said Vucic.
The event brought together the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic, the Montenegrin President, Filip Vujanovic, the President of the Republika Srpska (RS) entity, Milorad Dodik, as well as the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.
“The only way for us to survive is for us to become serious partners to each other and also to the entire world,” said President Vucic who added that exhibitions like the Mostar fair illustrated that people in the region were learning to become better neighbours able to find common interests.
“We have nothing to hope for if we don’t unify our markets,” said Vucic, adding that the Mostar fair was a good example for the future.
“Our business people need this more than politicians do. There are no opponents here, only partners,” he said. “Cooperation is in everybody’s interest. When we are doing good, Europe is calmer and more stable.”
During a formal dinner on the eve of the event the Croat member of Bosnia’s Presidency, Dragan Covic, urged both the Bulgarian and the Croatian prime ministers to help Bosnia on its path towards entry into the European Union.
However, none of Covic’s colleagues from the three-member Bosnian Presidency attended the fair. The Serb representative, Mladen Ivanic, was out of the country and the Bosniak representative, Bakir Izetbegovic, was also absent.
In welcoming guests Mostar's Mayor, Ljubo Beslic said, “Mostar is a centre of improvement and economic prosperity.”