Varhelyi: EU expects BiH leaders to use candidate recommendation as opportunity

NEWS 12.10.202215:55 0 komentara

The European Enlargement Commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi, confirmed on Wednesday that the European Commission recommended that Bosnia and Herzegovina be granted candidate status and said that he expects BiH leaders to take advantage of this opportunity.

He spoke about the European Union enlargement package. The enlargement policy, he said, includes everything they can offer their partners and that it is the EU’s geostrategic investment.

” The enlargement policy of the European Union is a geostrategic investment in our European continent's peace, stability, security, and socio-economic growth. Our reports offer a factual and fair assessment and a clear guidance precisely to allow our partners to identify where they need to go faster in reforms to move ahead. There is no alternative, and it is in our common interest to accelerate the integration process, starting with the Western Balkans, where we have been investing for many years to bring them closer to the EU. The recommendation to grant candidate status is a historic moment for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I urge the leaders of the country to make the most of this historic opportunity and swiftly proceed with the steps identified in our recommendation. This will restart the work on reforms and on the fulfilment of the 14 key priorities set in the Commission's Opinion which remain key for the opening of accession negotiations,” the Commissioner said.

He recalled that the Commission recommended BiH be given candidate status, bearing in mind that several steps have already been taken. They expect the leaders of BiH to use this opportunity and implement the following reforms as soon as possible:

  • Adopt amendments to the existing Law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, as a matter of priority, in order to ensure its integrity,
  • Adopt a new law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council and adopt a law on the courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • Adopt a law on preventing conflicts of interest,
  • Take decisive steps to strengthen the prevention and fight against corruption and organized crime,
  • Resolutely advance work on ensuring efficient coordination at all levels when it comes to border management and migration management capacities, as well as ensuring the functioning of the asylum system,
  • Ensure the prohibition of torture, especially by establishing a national preventive mechanism against torture and ill-treatment,
  • Guarantee freedom of expression and the media and the protection of journalists, especially by ensuring appropriate judicial proceedings in cases of threats and violence against journalists and media workers,
  • Ensure results in the functioning at all levels of the coordination mechanism on EU issues, including the development and adoption of the national program for the adoption of the EU acquis.

“Granting the candidate status recommendation is an offer from the European side to BiH and the people of BiH. We do it for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it comes with high expectations. The political elite must make it a reality,” Varhelyi said earlier on Wednesday.

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