„My most difficult task and my greatest success was that I did not allow the City of Sarajevo to be closed down as an institution, even though it was desired by some people“, stressed Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić at the traditional press conference held today at the City Hall.
Looking at the results achieved since he resumed office on March 27, 2013, Komšić said that he inherited debt of two and a half million BAM, which amounted to tri million by the end of that year. „If we compare this debt to the amount of the grant allocated by Sarajevo Canton of 5 million BAM, we can see that it is more than half that amount“ stressed Komšić.
„However, in 2014 came an even greater shock. At the beginning of April of that year Sarajevo Canton stopped financing us completely. The grant was cancelled which was justified by the Federal Law on Public Revenue, which excluded the City of Sarajevo from the budget as a local self-government unit. We found ourselves in a vacuum between obligations of the Canton and the Federation. We were left to ourselves.” said Komšić.
“As the Mayor I was faced with the fact that Sarajevo, as the country’s capital city was about to be closed down. I invested the greatest possible efforts to save the status of the City of Sarajevo as the country’s capital city and to secure its financing. And I succeeded. You are the witnesses that the City of Sarajevo was not closed down. We did not lock the doors. We won the appeal against Federation at the Constitutional Court. Therefore, from December 2015 the City of Sarajevo’s finances are stable.” stressed the Mayor.
He was proud to say that he managed to secure the survival of Sarajevo as the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its international promotion.
“Thanks to the exceptional international cooperation that we carried out during these four years, I am pleased to say that today the City of Sarajevo is a very desirable partner internationally. Its reputation was enhanced, we are receiving twinning request on daily basis, and this is followed by donations”, said the city’s leading man.
In the part of the press conference that followed, looking back at the projects implemented for the past few years Komšić mentioned the opening of the City Hall.
“That was my project, even though there was some ill-intentioned criticism. I brought the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as a present to Sarajevo and its citizens. If it had not been opened on May 9, 2014, its facade would be littered with graffiti, its windows smashed, and drug addicts would occupy its basements”, said Komšić adding that the City Hall has now become a multimedia cultural centre of the City of Sarajevo and the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sarajevo was one of few cities which did not have a cycle lane. “We would not be able to construct it without the heads of Sarajevo municipalities, the Ministry of Traffic of Sarajevo Canton and Directorate for Roads. In the forthcoming period it will stretch all the way to Bentbaša. Another important project that we worked on was the setting up of signposts at tram stops as information to tourists” reminded Komšić.
When it comes to Trebević Cable Car, the City only managed to obtain the building rights in January this year. “The designs have been completed, and the Italian company Leitner is already making the necessary parts for the cable car in its factory. We will have one of the best cable cars in the world because it is built by the best company” stressed the Mayor.
Mayor Komšić also mentioned EYOF as one of the most important projects. He pointed out that it is an important project because it will gather 1500 participants, 5000 guests and require involvement of all levels of government. He further mentioned that not a single state institution wanted to support this project, the organisation of which costs 6 million Euros.
“We secured the funds for that project. Now, at my great insistence, other state bodies also decided to support it. This event can no longer be brought into question. The Youth Olympic Festival will take place in 2019” stressed Mayor Komšić.
Considering that many discussions were raised concerning the 2017 public New Year’s Eve celebration in Sarajevo, Komšić said that a contract has been signed with Magaza Ltd. to whose account payment will be made for organization of the New Year’s Eve celebration. The city of Sarajevo allocated 100.000 BAM and the Sarajevo Canton 150.000 BAM for this purpose.
The renowned British newspapers the Guardian has made up a list of European cities to visit this winter, including the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
„In this cruel world, Sarajevo is a reminder that bad things can turn out for the better. This once magnificent bastion of integration and multicultural glow rose from the ashes which had befallen it from 1992 to 1995 during the siege, and it is now a blooming and fascinating destination. Narrow streets of Baščaršija, the old town, are teeming with good cafes, and you can find accommodation at a reasonable price. Hostels such as Balkan Han, the Doctor House and Franz Ferdinand offer accommodation from 11 to 32 Euros per night” reports Guardian.
The Guardian singled out the reconstructed City Hall and Svrzo’s House, a grand museum reminiscent of the atmosphere of 18th century Sarajevo. It also recommends visiting the Tunnel and Museum of Hope, which served as the only exit for citizens of Sarajevo during the dark war days.
“For dinner you can visit Cakum-pakum and enjoy in the taste of legendary pancakes. Just like at the time of the Winter Olympics which were held in Sarajevo in 1984, you can go skiing and snowboarding on Mountain Bjelašnica, 20 km away from the city. We also recommend Mountain Jahorina at the southeast of the country”.
Apart from Sarajevo, this list also includes: Baden-Baden, Germany; Poprad, Slovakia; Zagreb, Croatia; Tromso, Norway; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Memmingen, Germany; Sibia, Romania; Poznan, Poland and Are-Östersund in Sweden.
Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić received the non-resident Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Sean O’Regan for an introductory visit.
Mayor Komšić informed the Ambassador about the constitutional and legal status of the city of Sarajevo and wished him a successful mandate.
Ambassador O’ Regan stressed that he has special emotions for our country and that the capital city of the Republic of Ireland has a sizeable Bosnian and Herzegovinian community expressing his wish for establishing cooperation between the two countries.
On this occasion, the Mayor suggested the possibility to establish cooperation between Sarajevo and Dublin.
Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić received today the newly appointed Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Andrea Rauber Saxer and whished her a successful mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the continuation of the good cooperation between the City of Sarajevo and the Embassy of Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mayor Komšić and Ambassador Rauber Saxer agreed that the present cooperation between the City of Sarajevo and Swiss Confederation was very successful and expressed their hope that it will continue in the future. The Ambassador especially emphasized the cooperation in the project „Reactivate Sarajevo“ and presented the Mayor with the invitation to visit the exhibition entitled „Sarajevo now: people’s museum“ by Urban-Think Tank of ETH Zurich and Baier Bischofberger Architects which will be on display until January 31, 2017.
Mayor Komšić thanked the Embassy for the assistance which the Swiss Confederation provided in the past and which it continues to provide, especially for the donation of the cable car equipment from Grächen.