April 15, 2024

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The European Union begins accession negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina

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BrusselsThe European Union has decided to open accession talks with Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina wants to join the European Union. Brussels gives green light to talks

  • Bosnia-Herzegovina and the European Union begin accession talks.

  • However, the so-called First Accession Convention will take place only after Bosnia-Herzegovina has implemented the reform requirements that have yet to be met.

  • The European Union already offered Bosnia-Herzegovina the opportunity to join in 2003, and it officially submitted its application in 2016.

The European Union has decided to open accession talks with the Balkan nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. EU Council President Charles Michel made the announcement on Thursday evening after talks between heads of state and government at the EU summit in Brussels.

However, the so-called First Accession Convention will take place only after Bosnia-Herzegovina has implemented the reform requirements that have yet to be met. These include, among others, the rule of law in the country and the fight against corruption and organized crime. “Now the hard work must continue,” commented Michael.

Bosnia-Herzegovina submitted the application in 2016

The European Union already offered Bosnia-Herzegovina the opportunity to join in 2003, and it officially submitted its application in 2016. It was adopted in the group of candidate countries in 2022. The reason for this is concern that the Balkan nation of about 3.2 million people could otherwise turn to Russia or China. States such as Austria in particular have recently urged Bosnia-Herzegovina to give it a chance for progress in its accession process.

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It is unclear how long it will take for EU accession talks to begin. For example, Turkey became an EU candidate in 1999 – and has never been further away from membership than it is today. Theoretically, a candidate for membership can never become a member.

“The country has demonstrated that it can meet the inclusion criteria”

Of the six Western Balkan states, the Republic of Kosovo is the only non-candidate for membership. However, the country has already submitted its application for membership. For Europe's youngest state, this is a symbolic act: the country, which has been independent since 2008, is currently not eligible for EU membership. The main obstacle is the non-recognition of Kosovo by five EU countries – Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus.

The decision of the Heads of State and Government regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina came on the recommendation of Ursula van der Leyen, President of the Commission. “Of course, further progress is needed to be accepted into our Union. But the country has shown that it can meet the accession criteria and supports the aspirations of its citizens to become part of our family,” he said in a recent speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

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(DPA/Job)