BiH CoM Chair speaks at Open Balkan summit despite lack of Presidency decision


The Chairman of Bosnia's Council of Ministers, Zoran Tegeltija, is participating as an observer at the ‘Open Balkan’ summit in North Macedonia despite a lack of a decision on the matter by the BiH Presidency.

The two-day summit, at which several agreements and memoranda of co-operation will be signed, began on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Tegeltija, as well as Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, and the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazovic, spoke at the summit.

Montenegro and BiH are not members of the Open Balkan initiative but are observers.

“I sincerely hope that I am the last to come from BiH, and speak here as an observer or guest and that anyone else who comes will speak as a full member of the Open Balkan. Unfortunately, BiH does not have a consensus on the Open Balkan project. There are no serious answers as to why, there are no negative answers either. There is simply silence, if there is a written initiative, it is sitting in the drawers of those who need to decide on it,” Tegeltija said.

“In my opinion, the reasons are part of prejudices from the past regarding who the proposer of this initiative is, who will profit from it, whether this is a replacement for the Western Balkans, part it is also the political influence of certain groups which believe it would be a failure. There is always influence from the outside in BiH,” Tegeltija said.

He explained that some questioned why he is participating in the summit since BiH does not have a consensus on it.

“I am here also due to the fact that the representatives of BiH are participating in all negotiations at the technical levels that are being conducted within the Open Balkan initiative, and that we are ready to sign all agreements at the moment when a political decision is made. I am here because I am sure that this is good for us and the citizens. I am sure that BiH will sooner or later become a member of Open Balkan,” he said.

Speaking about the increase in the price of energy and goods, he said that for the first time on Tuesday he heard initiatives for the countries involved to resolve those issues together.

“I call on all of us to finally open the Balkans and our borders for the free movement of people, goods and capital, to enable our citizens to live as people, as they once lived in a common state,” Tegeltija emphasised.