Dragan Covic, submitted a request for membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in the European Union (EU) exactly five years ago when he was the chairman of the presidency, but little has been done since then. BiH has not yet received candidate status, and according to many, nowadays BiH is even further from the EU than it was five years ago.
If we look at the countries in our region, it takes on average about two years for a country to reach candidate status from submitting an application for EU membership. Croatia, for example, took sixteen months, Montenegro two years, while Serbia crossed that road in two years and two months, while North Macedonia did it in a year and nine months. Albania has been waiting for the candidate status the most in this region, for five years and two months, and it is almost certain that BiH will surpass it. Unlike the countries from the region, BiH took the longest to answer the questionnaire of the European Commission, which was handed to BiH in December 2016, and the answers to it, and not even complete, came to Brussels only in March 2019, Nezavisne writes.
In the meantime, almost all politicians have said each year that BiH has almost got candidate status, which has yet not been received, and as things stand, for now, it probably won’t happen his year as well.
“Unfortunately, today we are much further from the EU than we were in 2016, because then there was a good atmosphere, which lasted a year, and after that, the atmosphere changed. Today we see that the government made up of SNSD with its partners in Sarajevo is not able to implement any significant recommendation of the EU, and especially they are not able to change something in the field of rule of law and the anti-corruption fight and fight against crime. Certainly, no candidate status can be expected this year, and nor the significant progress, ” said Igor Crnadak, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH and current president of the Committee for European Integration of the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska (RS).
Currently, when it comes to BiH’s path to the EU, in BiH it is mostly talked about 14 EU recommendations or requests, whose fulfillment is necessary in order to obtain eventual candidate status. The recommendations, among other things, refer to the need to change the Constitution of BiH, which is not possible considering the current political circumstances, and given that the EU has repeatedly emphasized that there will be no negotiations on the requests placed for BiH. This is why it is easy to conclude that BiH will wait a long time for candidate status.
On the fifth anniversary of submitting the application for EU membership, the HDZ says that it was a historic day for BiH and that they are aware of the challenges in the process of European integration, at the same time appealing to all officials to start cooperating to get candidate status as soon as possible.
“During this process, we call for respect of the absolute equality of the constituent peoples as well as for joint work that will bring the necessary engagement and progress. First of all, we call for immediate implementation of the Mostar Political Agreement on amendments to the Election Law, which would ensure full equality of the constituent peoples in BiH and lead to achieving candidate status during 2021, and all that while respecting the European principle of unity in diversity, ” it was announced from HDZ said on Monday.
In addition to the request to amend the BiH Constitution, and the BiH Election Law, public administration reform, depoliticization and restructuring of public companies, and ensuring the transparency of privatization policies are among the 14 recommendations set for BiH as well.