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Saturday, May 16, 2015
British Ambassador’s speech at the 10th Jubilee Celebration Ceremony of “EFT - Rudnik i Termoelektrana Stanari”

H.E. Mr. Edward Ferguson, British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, delivered a speech at the 10th Jubilee Celebration Ceremony of “EFT - Rudnik i Termoelektrana Stanari”

“President Dodik, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, It’s a real pleasure to be here today with you all in Stanari.

Since I arrived in this country last year, my primary focus has been on creating and then implementing the EU’s new strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina.  So I have spent much of the last few months talking about the need for economic and business-friendly reforms to open up Bosnia and Herzegovina to more domestic and foreign private sector investment.  In that context, it’s a particular pleasure to be here and to see a well-run British investor like Mineco operating successfully on the ground.

And today, we are here to witness one of the most strategic investment projects in arguably the most important sector in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina: the modernisation of the lignite mine and construction of this magnificent thermal power plant which, when complete, will provide 300MW of electricity and will create jobs for more than 900 people.

This investment is hugely important for the newly established Stanari Municipality, for Republika Srpska and for Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole.  And, I have to say, it is also very important for the UK.

I confess that some weeks ago when, I was reading the latest investment figures and discovered that in 2014, the UK had been the biggest investor in Bosnia and Herzegovina after Russia, I was a little surprised!  But, of course, a significant proportion of that investment lies in what we can see here before us today.

And it is not just the financial investment: all €550m of it!  EFT also brings with it expertise in best-practice management and new technologies.  I was delighted that, in December last year, EFT received an award for the Best Greenfield Investment from the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency of BIH.

I must say too how pleased I am to see President Dodik here today.  The active support of the RS Government has been very important in EFT's success so far, and will remain so.  As an investment which is financed purely from private equity, this power plant can be an important symbol that Republika Srpska, and Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole, are open for business. 

I am very pleased that the reform agenda is taking shape under the leadership of the new State and Entity governments, and with the support of the EU and the International Financial Institutions.  And I hope that in future, the planned reforms will mean that we will see many more UK companies investing in Republika Srpska, and significant growth in trade between the UK and Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole.    

And as BiH is, with Romania and Bulgaria, one of only three countries in the whole South East European region which is a net exporter of energy, the economic potential of this and other future sites, including in the renewables sector, is exciting to see.

So once again, I thank and congratulate everyone who has been involved in the success of this project, directly or indirectly.  And I wish you all success with the trial operation later this year.  Thank you, and good luck!” 

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