Green light for Bosnia and Herzegovina from the European Commission, but under certain conditions

On Wednesday, Bosnia and Herzegovina received the green light to start negotiations on membership in the European Union, but under certain conditions.

The College of Commissioners of the European Union met this morning to discuss the progress that Ukraine and nine other countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, have made in their efforts to join the EU.

Although there was no agreement on the opening of negotiations in the BiH progress report, a decision was made to give BiH the green light, with several conditions that must be met by March 2024.

“Today is a historic day because the European Commission proposes to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. Likewise with BiH, but the moment the conditions are met. The European Commission also proposes that the EU Council grant Georgia the status of a candidate country on the condition that certain steps are taken,” said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, after the meeting.

When it comes to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Von der Leyen added that they recognized the entire series of steps taken, such as the rapid formation of the Council of Ministers, as well as the commitment of all political parties to membership in the European Union.

“This led to progress in the fight against organized crime, terrorism and the like. However, we also note that the entity of Republika Srpska passed a number of unconstitutional laws. Therefore, the European Commission recommends that the EU Council open the negotiations, but only when the necessary level of compliance with the criteria is achieved. The Commission will report to the Council on the progress in March 2024,” she stressed.

She also said that enlargement is the key and that completing the European Union, “is our historic task”.

“Citizens of countries that want to join the European Union are Europeans. We are bound by geographical, historical and value ties. The completion of our Union follows a solid economic and geopolitical logic because the previous enlargements have brought great advantages. We are all winners in that,”9 she concluded.

The progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the European path has caused numerous discussions in recent days and has given rise to different attitudes of many countries.

After rumors that the European Commission could give the green light to Bosnia and Herzegovina to open negotiations, some European Union countries claimed that our country has regressed in terms of the rule of law and democratic principles. However, other officials believed that the EC could be accused of double standards if it opened accession negotiations with Ukraine, but not with BiH.

Nevertheless, the diplomats stressed that Ukraine made efforts to get closer to EU standards, while the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina worsened and therefore should not be rewarded.

Bosnia and Herzegovina received the candidate status in December last year, and eight conditions must be met in that process. In addition, the European Commission drafted an opinion on the country’s readiness to become an EU candidate with 14 priorities that will be on the table even after the opening of accession negotiations.