The member states of the European Union (EU) have unanimously adopted a recommendation by the European Commission to grant candidate country status to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
President of the European Council Charles Michel said on Twitter that the move sends “a strong signal to the people, but also a clear expectation for the new authorities to deliver on reforms”, reports Xinhua news agency.
BiH applied for EU membership in February 2016. Subsequently, the European Commission recommended granting candidate status to BiH in October 2022, on the condition that the country take steps to strengthen the rule of law, the fight against corruption and organised crime, migration management and fundamental human rights.
Before the conflict in Ukraine, there were 14 criteria for candidacy status for BiH.
However, the process was accelerated after the EU granted candidacy status to Ukraine and Moldova.
BiH is now ready to open negotiations with the EU on the process of becoming an EU member state.
“I welcome the decision of the heads of the EU member states to recognize BiH as a candidate for membership in the EU,” said Milorad Dodik, President of the Bosnian entity Republika Srpska and the leader of the Alliance of the Independent Social Democrats.
“It is time the EU and BiH with its two entities finalized this process as partners and to our mutual satisfaction”, said Dodik on Twitter.