Commissioner Hahn meets with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brussels, 30 January 2019

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn met today together with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker the three members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Chairman in office Milorad Dodik and Presidency members Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić.

The Commissioner welcomed the Presidency members’ collective agreement to advance the EU perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the strategic goal of their country, in line with Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens’ aspirations. He urged them in this respect to use this consensus as the political basis to accelerate the necessary measures and reforms.

The Commissioner underlined that the country now needed to see concrete, tangible reforms. Divisive rhetoric or any initiatives hampering the country’s EU path must be avoided. In this context, the formation of all governments stemming from the October 2018 elections is essential.

The meeting was also an opportunity to touch upon the Commission’s Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Commissioner urged the Presidency members to send harmonised and internally coordinated replies to the 656 follow up questions as soon as possible.

Transmitting these answers back will, however, not give Bosnia and Herzegovina automatically candidate status as such. The future Commission Opinion will be a comprehensive roadmap for deep reforms, which need to be adopted and implemented urgently, notably those in the field of rule of law and fundamental rights, where there are clear shortcomings at all levels. Commissioner Hahn raised in this regard also the legitimate concerns expressed by the country’s citizens, including those that have taken to the streets in Banja Luka. He underlined that the EU as well as the international community expects that these cases are duly followed up according to international standards.

The Commissioner remains firmly committed to continue assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina on its EU path to the benefit of its citizens.