Slovenia's PM urges Bosnia to embrace 'historic' moment for EU integration
SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Slovenia's Prime Minister Robert Golob on Monday urged Bosnia's leaders to embrace a "historic moment" created by the war in Ukraine and kick off reforms required by the European Union to speed up the Balkan country's membership process.
Slovenia was the strongest supporter of Bosnia's bid to become a candidate to join the wealthy 27-member bloc, which was approved in December despite a poor reform record by the ethnically-divided country.
Golob, who chose Sarajevo for his first visit to the Western Balkans region since he assumed the job last year, said Russian aggression towards Ukraine had turned Brussels sceptics into supporters of the EU enlargement process, and that was "historic".
"For 20 years administrative issues have in reality stopped the enlargement process while today the EU enlargement process has become a political process that we want to take further on," Golob told a news conference held jointly with Bosnia's Prime Minister Borjana Kristo.
"Slovenia wants to be not only a friend on that path but the biggest ally, and that is why we shall offer you all possible help, from technical to administrative and financial support," he said.
Slovenia is among the three top investors in Bosnia, and Golob said its private investors saw great potential in renewable energy sources in the country.
Following its devastating war in the 1990s in which about 100,000 people were killed, Bosnia remains divided ethically and politically among its Serb, Bosniak and Croat groups.
(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Ed Osmond)