The government on Sunday unanimously adopted the answers to a set of additional questions the European Commission (EC) sent Bosnia in order to review the country’s request for EU candidate status.
The government, or as it’s officially called in Bosnia, the Council of Ministers (CoM), said it adopted the answers during a phone session. The Chairman of the CoM, Denis Zvizdic, announced that he will speak at a press conference about it on Monday.
Bosnia and Herzegovina formally applied for EU membership in February 2016 and was to provide answers to the 3,242 questions of the EC’s Questionnaire within six months.
However, it took the country a year to provide the answers because of internal disagreements that stem from deep political and ethnic divisions.
But once the answers were submitted, Brussels sent another 655 follow-up questions that should clarify certain ambiguities. Those were supposed to be answered by September 2018.
Most of the follow-up questions Bosnia’s institutions received later refer to political criteria, while the rest relate to the economy, social policy, employment, transportation policy, education and culture.
But there is a long process awaiting Bosnia on its path toward the EU, even now that the new answers are being translated to be sent to Brussels.
Whether Bosnia will manage to get EU candidate status will depend on the Opinion of the EC, which cannot be expected before April, when the EC publishes its regular reports for all countries aspiring to join the Union.
But even then, the candidate status is only the beginning. The next step is a series of negotiations between Bosnia and the EU that should harmonise the country’s legislature with Chapter 35 of the so-called ‘acquis’, the European legislature.
This is expected to be a years-long process.