EU has a new strategy for Bosnia, local politicians are next to act

European Union Foreign Affairs Council endorsed at the latest meeting in Brussels new plan and approach of European Union for Bosnia. Plan which is based on initiatives of Croatia, Slovenia, United Kingdom and Germany will make Bosnia’s accession process proactive, concrete and set on proper path which would bring Bosnia to the doorsteps of full membership. EU Commission Vice-President and Foreign Affairs Representative Federica Mogherini will visit Bosnia in first week of December to have first round of talks with local leaders on this plan and new strategy.

Newly named Commissioner Mogherini hopes that a new situation where Eu has new Commission and Bosnia has new Presidency could open doors for new start in relations and process of reforms. According to Mogherini this is part of new approach which would bring Bosnia to EU membership without lowering a bar which was set to all previous and current candidate states.

Vice-President Mogherini speaks with media prior to Foreign Affairs Council meeting
Vice-President Mogherini speaks with media prior to Foreign Affairs Council meeting

Problem to EU and member states could be Russia. Russia recently sustained from vote on latest UN resolution on Bosnia as objection to country’s Euro-atlantic aspirations. Serb politicians in Bosnia will all what is necessary to stop Bosnia on the road to the EU and especially NATO in effort to please Vladimir Putin and his interests in Balkans. This was not a first time that Russia objected one country aspirations towards EU and NATO but it is a first time that it was expressed regarding country which is not imminent neighbor.

Croatian Foreign Affairs Minister Vesna Pusić was much more concrete regarding EU plans for Bosnia. Pusić who spoke with journalists prior and following meeting in Brussels pointed out that recent initiatives by Croatia, Slovenia, UK and Germany are no longer member states initiatives but EU initiative for Bosnia.

Pusić: This is Bosnia's chance to move forward
Pusić: This is Bosnia’s chance to move forward

“We made consensus that our new approach should be proactive from our and Bosnian side. EU initiative will require from Bosnia written pledge that reforms which are needed for reset of negotiations with EU will become a part of new government agenda for this term”, said Pusić.

Stability and Association Agreement between EU and Bosnia which is first step on the road towards full membership is on hold at the moment. Reform process in Bosnia is on hold since last elections due to political problems and instability of governmental majority or willingness to work with each other.

Croatia’s head of diplomacy expressed her hope, without giving any assurance, that if Bosnia government accepts EU plan this could be a chance for country to reach candidate status. EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker earlier this year announced that enlargement process would be brought to standstill during this Commission term. Juncker’s decision to slow enlargement process mean for Bosnia and Balkan countries, in first line Montenegro and Serbia, would get first chance to become full member states in late 2019 or 2020.

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