European Western Balkans

EU officials praise recommendation to grant Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status

Josep Borrell; Photo: Flickr / European Parliament

BRUSSELS – The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borrell, welcomed today’s decision of the EU General Affairs Council to approve the granting of candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina, telling its citizens that their future is in the EU.

“Looking forward to the European Council’s endorsement. Steadfast progress on reforms is key to take this perspective forward”, Borell wrote on Twitter.

European Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi called Tuesday’s decision of the General Affairs Council to approve the granting of candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina “a turning point in EU enlargement policy”.

“Europe Delivers! Today we reached another milestone in the EU Enlargement Policy. Council recommended to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina. EU path is open! We have high hope & expectations that 14 key priorities will be delivered for BiH citizens’ benefit,” Várhelyi tweeted.

The Head of the EU delegation to BiH, Ambassador Johann Sattler, also commented on the decision by saying “that the celebration should only begin when everything is finished”. He recalled that on Thursday, December 15, there will be a decisive meeting where the heads of state of the European Union member states will decide on Bosnia’s candidate status.

“I will just mention that in June of last year, the discussion at their meeting and session on the topic of BiH lasted for three hours, so I wouldn’t like to declare victory. The prospects are good, but let’s wait a little longer and the celebration should start only when everything is finished and resolved on Thursday,” Sattler said, N1 reported. 

Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob advocated the acceleration of the EU enlargement process to the countries of the Western Balkans, especially BiH when speaking at the European Parliament because he believes that this will significantly contribute to the political stability of the region, which is under strong pressure from Russia.

“Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, the Western Balkans have been exposed to great pressure and propaganda, and this is thy type of pressure that can dissolve the unity of Europe. Therefore we must be aware that this instrument can significantly contribute to the political stability of this region,” said Golob, adding that the expansion is the most powerful instrument in the EU’s arsenal.

“Therefore, please don’t put the brakes on this process,” said Golob.

At the same time, he particularly emphasized that BiH was the biggest victim of aggression in the past and that is why, he said, “we owe BiH to show that we have not forgotten it.” “We will have to show the same to Ukraine in the future,” Golob concluded

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