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Statement on the opening of accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina

26 март 2024 08:14, Людмила Калъпчиева
Излъчване: Туида Нюз преди 3 месеца, брой четения: 214
European Parliament

Opening accession negotiations recognizes progress made, but also confers on Bosnia and Herzegovina a critical responsibility for its future trajectory, say leading MEPs.

 

Following the decision of the European Council to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina Romeo Franz (Greens/EFA, Germany), Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, and Paulo Rangel (EPP, Portugal), Standing Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, issued the following statement:

 

We welcome the decision by the European Council to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, which recognizes progress made, but also confers on Bosnia and Herzegovina a critical responsibility for its future trajectory. The legitimate European aspirations and expectations of its citizens must be matched by a concrete and unwavering commitment of all stakeholders.

 

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 changed the geostrategic outlook of the European Union and prompted it to reprioritise its enlargement policy and its commitment to the Western Balkan countries and their longstanding ambition to become members of the EU. The decision of the European Council should therefore also be seen in the wider context of the compelling new geopolitical realities. As a significant step on the road from Dayton to Brussels, it will require genuine and sustained political consensus, as well as consistent commitment to EU integration reforms. An enabling environment for civil society must also ensure its meaningful involvement throughout the process.

 

As a staunch supporter of enlargement, the European Parliament has continuously encouraged Bosnia and Herzegovina in its accession efforts and called for more progress. It has clearly indicated the path to follow and identified the challenges - and challengers - on the road towards success. Since obtaining candidate country status in December 2022, Bosnia and Herzegovina resumed political decision-making and worked on much-needed key reforms, thus reaffirming its commitment to its EU integration path, including in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy. Last week’s decision of the European Council is further proof of the determination of the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina to jointly pursue the objective of EU membership.

 

There is still much work ahead, and we expect Bosnia and Herzegovina to work diligently on all outstanding key priorities and steps, notably in the field of democracy, rule of law and the protection of human rights. Accession to the EU must remain a merit-based process, firmly anchored in the Copenhagen criteria. Key reforms cannot be delayed or subject to blockages and political games. Any divisive, inflammatory or secessionist rhetoric and action will damage and endanger the country’s EU integration process.

 

We call on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to prioritise and accelerate work on the fulfilment of the outstanding key priorities, as well as all relevant steps set out in the Commission’s recommendation of 12 October 2022. As stipulated in the European Council’s conclusions, the completion of work on the steps is a prerequisite for the adoption of the negotiating framework.