Bosnia reportedly to get green light for EU membership talks amid push to meet last criteria

Bosnia reportedly to get green light for EU membership talks amid push to meet last criteria
/ bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews March 11, 2024

Bosnia & Herzegovina’s state-level authorities are pushing to adopt final requirements that would unlock the start of EU membership talks by the end of this month. The last out of three key conditions – the adoption of law on courts – was included in the government’s agenda for March 12, it said in a statement.

According to Politico, this will be admitted by the European Commission, which is expected to recommend the start of membership talks on March 12. According to sources quoted by Politico, the EC will propose the so-called negotiations rameworks, which would set the basic principles of accession talks.

Aside from Kosovo, Bosnia is the last Western Balkan state that has not yet started EU membership talks, as political tensions and disagreements have blocked key reforms for years.

In February, Angelina Eichhorst, director general for Europe at the EU External Affairs Service (EEAS), set four conditions that Bosnia must meet to get a green light for start of membership talks in March, including the start of cooperation talks with Frontex and the adoption of three laws - the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, the Law on Conflict of Interest and the Law on Courts.

Earlier in March, Bosnia’s state-level parliament adopted the law on prevention of conflict of interests and on money laundering.

On March 12, the government intends to adopt the last requested law – on courts – and expects the parliament will pass it without delay.

The government of Prime Minister Borjana Kristo has been pushing hard for reforms that would finally unlock Bosnia’s EU membership negotiations.

Kristo has sent a letter to the EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, with a list of all reforms adopted by the state-level institutions over the past year.

“The activities we have achieved are the result of our comprehensive and dedicated work, as well as the cooperation of competent institutions at all levels of government. These achieved goals, although they are only a part of a wider range of activities that we have carried out, are of vital importance for our next step towards membership in the EU,” Kristo wrote.

The country was given an EU candidate status in December 2022, but was required to fulfil 14 key conditions before the start of actual talks.