Von der Leyen: BiH has future in the EU as a unique and independent country

SARAJEVO, January 23 (FENA) – President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said today in Sarajevo that Bosnia and Herzegovina has a future in the European Union as a unique and independent country.

After the meeting that Von der Leyen and Prime Ministers of Croatia Andrej Plenković and Netherlands Mark Rutte held with the Council of Ministers of BiH, the EC President commended BiH and thanked it for fully aligning itself with the EU’s foreign policy.

She pointed out that BiH’s progress and real commitment on the way to membership in the Union by adopting important laws are visible.

”The more you fulfill the requirements for membership, the more you help me show the progress in the reports. In many ways, BiH decides on its own about the progress on the path it has chosen,” said Von der Leyen.

She added that there is still work to be done to fulfill the requirements for membership – especially when it comes to democracy and the rule of law, prevention of money laundering, conflict of interests, and the adoption of laws on courts.

Von der Leyen reminded that the European Commission will publish a new report on BiH’s progress by March, based on which European leaders will discuss the next steps.

She explained that the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans represents the EU’s offer to integrate BiH into the common market before membership in the Union and invest one billion euros, which must be preceded by certain economic reforms.

She emphasized that this is a great opportunity to increase prosperity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially if the Western Balkans develop a separate common market, which, according to their estimates, would increase the GDP to about 10 percent.

The delegation of the European Union is on an official visit to BiH to encourage the BiH leadership to take additional steps to open accession negotiations in March this year. They previously met with members of the BiH Presidency, but Plenković did not attend that meeting.