Sarajevo, September 20, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
In a troubled period for BiH, some positive news finally reached the public on Tuesday morning, with the “green light” for this state from EU General Affairs Council which gave a positive recomendation on the BiH application for membership in EU and asks the European Commission to submit its opinion on this application.
It means a big step forward on the BiH path to EU and all politicians in state and international community expressed their satisfaction.
“n the past months, we have witnessed substantial progress in the country’s efforts to move closer to the EU, and today’s Council decision marks a major milestone for the European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It follows the hard work of the country’s leadership at all levels demonstrating their commitment to the reforms. Most importantly the decision today is an answer to citizens’ demands for change and moving closer to the EU”, said the Head of EU Delegation In BiH and EU Special Representative, Lars Gunnar Wigemark .
In the written statement to media he emphasized that this decision marks the beginning of a process where BiH is striving to catch up with its neighbours in the region who are already candidates for EU membership. The European Commission, as Wigemark said, will now start assessing in detail the state of play in a variety of fields and sectors in BiH.
“This will lead to the formulation of an opinion on the readiness of BiH to move forward in the accession process towards candidate country status and eventually open accession negotiations. It is too early to speculate how long this will take. In the meantime, BiH must not lose the focus. The reforms improving economic growth and social justice, rule of law and public administration need to continue, and leaders and authorities in BiH should address them constructively and through dialogue”, Wigemark pointed out.
The Reform Agenda, he added, shows great promise but the momentum needs to be maintained. Wigemark stressed that only through joint efforts, including dialogue, can the country move forward on its path to the EU, which stands ready to assist BiH.
Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Christian Danielsson, met the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, Denis Zvizdic, to discuss the steps to be taken by the state in the context of Council decision. Danielsson underlined that the Commission is ready to immediately follow up on the Council request and engage with BiH authorities for the preparations. He also stressed that it will be essential for local authorities, at all levels, to maintain a strong focus on reforms, including the further implementation of the Reform Agenda.
Zvizdic said that this is a really historic day for BiH path toward EU.
“Positive answer represent one of the most important phases on this process. On this phase we worked in the last 14 months and it ended today. This is very important for citizens of the BiH, especially for young people which will very soon live in the EU”, Zvizdic said.
BiH Presidency member, Mladen Ivanic, said that it is a good thing that the application for membership of BiH in the European Union is accepted because the questionnaire will force the politicians, instead of political conflicts, to turn to answering the technical issues of this document.