EU Commission recommends Bosnia and Herzegovina be granted EU candidacy status

Thu, 13 Oct 2022 7:42 GMT
‘We are doing this for people of Bosnia and Herzegovina but it also comes with high expectations,’ says bloc’s enlargement chief
EU Commission recommends Bosnia and Herzegovina be granted EU candidacy status

The European Commission has recommended that candidate status be granted to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU’s enlargement chief said Wednesday.

Addressing the European Parliament, Oliver Varhelyi, the European commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement, unveiled the bloc's 2022 Enlargement Package.

Varhelyi said the Balkan country has taken a number of steps to be granted candidate status.

“Commission also underlines that the European Council called on the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to urgently finalize the pending constitutional and electoral reforms,” Varhelyi noted.

“The candidate status is an offer from Europe to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are doing this for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina but it also comes with high expectations,” he added.

Following the October general elections, “we expect the legislators and governments at state entity and cantonal levels to be swiftly set up in order to focus on EU reforms,” said Varhelyi, adding that European Council will make the final decision “possibly in December.”

“The Commission stands ready to step up in support and to be a reliable partner along this road.”

Sefik Dzaferovic, the current chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, described the decision as a “positive” move.

“It’s particularly important that the Report recognizes that, in relation to Ukraine and other issues, Bosnia Herzegovina has aligned itself with the EU's foreign policy, which was an important factor in obtaining this recommendation,'' said Dzaferovic.

Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the presidency, said that he sees the recommendation as an “end of international interventionism” in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“I believe that this is the end of international interventionism in Bosnia and Herzegovina and I believe that the candidate status is also linked with the abolition of the function of the High Representative,” said Dodik.

Bosnia’s High Representative Christian Schmidt said that the commission’s recommendation reaffirms the commitment of the EU to integration perspectives of the Western Balkans, and in particular Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Other leaders in the region also welcomed the EU Commission’s decision.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor said that the move marks the beginning of Bosnia and Herzegovina's European perspective.

“Today's decision is a turning point for two reasons: first, because this actually marks the beginning of Bosnia Herzegovina’s European perspective, and second, because it is of great importance for peace and stability in the Western Balkans,” said a statement from the President’s Office.

North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said that the EU’s decision is an “important step” that will further consolidate Western Balkan's European future.


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