Bosnia edges closer to EU candidate status as it submits long-delayed questionnaire

Bosnia edges closer to EU candidate status as it submits long-delayed questionnaire
Top Bosnian government officials hand over the completed questionnaire to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Sarajevo.
By bne IntelliNews March 1, 2018

Bosnia & Herzegovina on February 28 submitted answers to its European Commission (EC) questionnaire, taking it a step closer to achieving EU accession candidate status. 

Aside from Kosovo, Bosnia is the only state in the region that does not yet have candidate status, but hopes to gain it this year. Having received the questionnaire, the Commission is expected to start preparing an opinion on the country's membership application.

“Today, by submitting an answer to the EC questionnaire, we have completed one of the most complex processes on the European path of our country,” said the chairman of the council of ministers, Denis Zvizdić. “We made a step forward to soon get candidate status and show our European friends that we have the credibility, will and knowledge to become part of a democratic Europe.”

Zvizdić and the Croatian member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, Dragan Čović, delivered the answers to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who visited Sarajevo.

It took Sarajevo more than 14 months to complete the 3,242 questions on the questionnaire, ekapija.com reported. While the tone from local and European Commission officials was positive on February 28, completion of the questionnaire was repeatedly delayed by disagreements between the institutions of the country’s smaller entity – Republika Srpska – on the one side, and the Muslim-Croat Federation and the central level authorities on the other.

Speaking on February 28, Zvizdić  urged Bosnians to show “will, determination and patriotism … in order to overcome the remaining obstacles on the European path as soon as possible, and to ensure stability, security and a better life for our children.”

“Your path is a natural one for your country, because you are an integral part of Europe, of European territory, history and culture. Your future is in the European Union,” Juncker said in an address to the Bosnian parliament. 

However, the European Commission president also highlighted the progress Bosnia still needs to make, signing out the need to promote the rule of law. 

“Rule of law cannot be achieved without the continued fight against corruption,” Juncker commented. 

 

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