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A session of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Council of Ministers today with the flags of the country and the European Union at the top of the room Alamy
Western Balkans

EU Commission recommends opening membership talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina

It still needs the approval of the 27 current member states before talks can open.

THE EU COMMISSION is recommending that member states open membership talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was given a list of policy reforms to implement two years ago to move forward in its bid to join the block.

The country is one of five in the Western Balkans to be a candidate but EU membership, but it is the only one not to have started formal negotiations towards accession.

It still needs the approval of EU Council, which is made up of the leaders of the 27 member states, before the negotiations can open. The Council is due to meet next week. 

Speaking to the European Parliament, EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said that Bosnia and Herzegovina “is showing that it can deliver on its membership criteria, and on its citizens’ aspiration to be part of our family”.

For that reason, she said, the Commission had decided to recommend to the EU Council that it open accession negotiations.

She said that “more progress is necessary to join our union” but that “Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken impressive steps towards us” and “more progress has been achieved in just over a year than in over a decade”.

She said Bosnia and Herzegovina was now “fully aligned” with the EU’s foreign and security policy, is improving how it manages migration flows, and is adopting laws against money laundering and terrorist financing.

She also welcomed its agreement to include judgements of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its domestic criminal records and noted continued progress on dialogue and reconciliation following the war that took place in 1992-1995, including the creation of a new peace-building committee.

The drive to expand the EU to include more countries in eastern Europe was reignited by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

In the Western Balkans, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania are already in talks to join.

The EU Council also approved opening of membership talks with Ukraine and Moldova in December.

Additional reporting by AFP

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