The EU officially approved the candidate status of Bosnia and Herzegovina. News headlines and events Last Minute Russia

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PARIS –

The European Union continues its strategy of “establishing dynamic and close relations” with the countries of the Western Balkans, which gained strategic importance after the war with Ukraine and Russia.

Giving the green light to Croatia, which has been waiting to join the Schengen area since 2013, EU leaders also officially approved the “candidate status” for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been waiting for 7 years.

At a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, EU heads of state and government agreed to grant Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate country status.

With this decision, which endorsed an agreement reached by EU ministers for European affairs last Tuesday, the long process of accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Balkan country of 3.5 million people, began. The candidate country is continuing negotiations to harmonize its domestic legislation with that of the EU in all areas.

On October 12, the European Commission recommended that member states grant “candidate status to this poor country that faces separatist threats and suffers from instability.” “This is a historic decision. The future of Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the EU,” said Oliver Varhelyi, EU Commissioner for Enlargement.

Rapprochement between the EU and the Western Balkans

At the EU-Western Balkans summit in Tirana, Albania’s capital, last week, the European Union reaffirmed its commitment to the enlargement process towards the Balkans. By deciding to include Croatia in the Schengen area less than a week after the summit, the EU has now given the green light to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Member states stated that to complete the Bosnian accession process, “major reforms were needed to strengthen the rule of law, fight corruption and organized crime, manage migration and fundamental rights.”

Turkey received candidate status in 1999.

With the official endorsement of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the number of member states in the EU waiting room has increased to 7. Having gone through a difficult period with the EU, Turkey officially received the status of a candidate country at the EU leaders’ summit held in Helsinki on 10-11 December 1999, and negotiations on accession were initiated at the summit in Brussels on October 3, 2005.

In addition to Turkey, North Macedonia since 2005, Montenegro since 2010, Serbia since 2012, Albania since 2014, and Ukraine and Moldova, the latest to join the Fellowship, are also awaiting admission with Candidate status from 2022. Accession negotiations have been started with Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia. On Thursday, Kosovo officially applied for this status.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, like the Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croatian Federation, is bound by a weak central government. This complex political system was created by the Dayton Peace Accords after a war that killed 100,000 people between 1992 and 1995.

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