Bosnia and Herzegovina ready for EU accession negotiations, Commission says

In a speech in the European Parliament on Tuesday, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen advised EU member states to give the green light to start accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Von der Leyen was looking ahead to the European summit on 21 and 22 March, when European leaders will discuss the future enlargement of the EU. The Commission believes it is time to start accession talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Balkan country submitted its membership application in 2016 and became a candidate country in December 2022. Before real accession negotiations could take place, Sarajevo had to meet a number of conditions.

'Impressive progress'

These have now been met, said von der Leyen: "Bosnia and Herzegovina has made impressive progress in our direction. In just over a year, it has made more progress than in the previous decade," she said.

The country has fully aligned itself with European foreign and security policy, and important laws are being adopted, for example on combating economic crime and terrorist financing. It has also made progress on migration and cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Political priority

"Of course, further progress is needed to join our Union. But the country is proving that it can meet the membership criteria and the will of its people to belong to our family," said Von der Leyen. "The future of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in our Union."

EU enlargement has become a political priority since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. There are currently nine countries with candidate status: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.



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