European Western Balkans

EU leaders will not make a decision on the opening accession talks with BiH

BiH and EU flags; Photo: European Commission

BRUSSELS – Leaders of the EU member states are unlikely to decide on opening accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina at the upcoming summit in Brussels, N1 reported. It is recommended that the European Council decide to open accession negotiations with BiH when a sufficient degree of compliance with membership criteria is achieved.

Slovenia and Croatia lead the group of countries that initiated a diplomatic initiative to open membership talks with BiH at the meeting next week, but several countries led by the Netherlands, oppose this, insisting that negotiations should not be open before March when an evaluation of the reforms process in BiH and the fulfillment of 14 priorities is scheduled.

Last week, the Government of the Netherlands published a document and forwarded it to the Dutch Parliament, stating that the opening of talks will get support once BiH “achieves the necessary level of compliance with the European criteria for membership”.

The Government of the Netherlands believes that only limited progress has been achieved in most of the 14 priorities with a setback in the segment of the freedom of expression. The document also mentions the secessionist efforts of Republika Srpska, as a serious problem, as well as the criminalization of defamation and the adoption of a so-called law on foreign agents.

In its 2023 enlargement package, the European Commission recommended opening negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. A similar recommendation has been made for Bosnia and Herzegovina on the condition that the country meet certain criteria.

The European Council meeting is scheduled for 14 and 15 December, while the annual Western Balkans summit will be held a day earlier, on 13 December.


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