July 23rd, 2024

European Union’s executive branch to recommend that members open accession negotiations with Bosnia

By The Associated Press on March 12, 2024.

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union’s executive arm will recommend that member countries open accession negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday.

The Western Balkan country is among six nations – alongside Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia – who are at different stages of the EU accession process, following a period of wars and crises in the 1990s.

Their memberships have been stalled for years. But after Russia’s war on Ukraine, EU officials are more keen on trying to lure them away from Russian influence.

“Of course, more progress is necessary to join our Union,” von der Leyen said. “But the country is showing that it can deliver on the membership criteria, and on its citizens’ aspiration to be part of our family.

“The message coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina is clear. So our message must be clear too. The future of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in our Union.”

For candidates to join the EU, they have to go through a lengthy process to align their laws and standards with those of the bloc and show their institutions and economies meet democratic norms.

Bosnia is perhaps the most fragile of the Balkan countries. Ethnic tensions there have persisted, long after the end of the 1992-95 interethnic war that killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions.

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