Positive recommendation for BiH’s EU membership application

Positive recommendation for BiH’s EU membership application

“Bosnia and Herzegovina does not yet sufficiently fulfil the criteria related to the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, set by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993. In this respect, the country needs to dedicate considerable efforts to sufficiently fulfil such criteria,” the European Commission wrote in its opinion on BiH EU membership application, after receiving the answers their Questionnaire.

The EU European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said on the presentation that the talks on BiH accession to the EU should be opened when the state achieves the necessary degree of compliance with the membership and political criteria.

In February 2016, the European Commission sent over 3 000 questions to BiH authorities, in order to get a detailed insight into the situation in the country, its structure, the decision-making processes and how the country generally functions.

BiH needs to bring its constitutional framework in line with European standards and ensure the functionality of its institutions in order to be able to take over EU obligations, the Commission said. The document particularly stressed that the country needs to improve its electoral framework and the functioning of the judiciary, as well as the prevention and fights against corruption and organised crime, including money laundering and terrorism.

The Commission, in part about economic criteria, concluded that BiH achieved a certain degree of macroeconomic stability.

“However, to move towards becoming a functioning market economy, which is a criteria set by the 1993 Copenhagen European Council, BiH needs to pay special attention to speeding up its decision-making procedures and improving the business environment as well as the efficiency and transparency of the public sector, in particular of public enterprises,” the Commission noted.

The country’s track record in implementing its obligations under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement needs to improve, notably regarding the establishment of the parliamentary dimension of the Agreement and by adopting a national plan for the adoption of the EU acquis.

It is overall at an “early stage regarding its level of preparedness to take on the obligations of EU membership and needs to significantly step up the process to align with the EU acquis and implement and enforce related legislation.”

“BiH s accession would have a limited overall impact on European Union policies and would not affect the Union’s capacity to maintain and deepen its own development. At the same time, identified functionality issues within BiH, notably related to the internal decision-making process as well as uncertainty and overlaps between the country’s various levels of government over a number of competences could negatively affect the decision-making process at EU level, particularly for matters requiring unanimity amongst EU Member States. BiH should, therefore, engage in a process to address functionality issues in order to comply with EU membership requirements and take on its related obligations,” says EC in the report.

Special Rapporteur for BiH, Cristian Dan Preda, said that he was satisfied with the Commission’s positive opinion on BiH and that he hopes that BiH will get the EU candidate status./ibna