Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities were given a three-month deadline to submit the answers to the European Commission (EC) Questionnaire's follow-up questions and the Commission has not yet received the replies, an EC spokesperson told N1.
“It is our understanding that the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities are now finalising their answers in the framework of the country's coordination mechanism on EU matters. The Commission looks forward to receiving the answers in the coming period,” said the spokesperson adding that, however, the specific questions on where the country exactly stands with the preparation of the answers should be addressed to the country's authorities.
The Commission sent to Bosnia's authorities a number of follow-up questions as a part of the preparation of the Commission's opinion on the country's application for the EU membership.
“An indicative deadline of three months, until the end of September was given to the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to submit their replies. The Commission has not yet received the replies,” said the spokesperson.
Bosnia and Herzegovina formally applied for the EU membership in February 2016 and was to provide the answers to the 3,242 questions of the EC's Questionnaire within six months. However, it took the country a year to complete the process, because of deep political and ethnic divisions.
In February this year, Bosnia's senior officials handed over the answers to the Questionnaire to the EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and the country is now expecting the Commission's opinion to its EU membership application.
The purpose of the follow-up questions is to clarify what has been provided by Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities in the answers received by the European Commission on 28 February 2018 as well as to request missing information, reads the introductory part of the document the authorities received in June.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina's answers to the Questionnaire and to the follow-up questions will be taken into account for the ongoing preparation of the Commission's opinion on the merits of Bosnia's application for EU membership. On the basis of the Commission's opinion and its future recommendations, the EU Council will take a decision as to the next steps in the country's EU integration process as well as the necessary reforms for Bosnia and Herzegovina to carry out to make this happen,” N1 was told in this institution.
The Commission emphasized it was crucial for Bosnia's leaders, parties and institutions to “maintain the strong focus on reforms” which includes the smooth organisation and implementation of the October election as well as the swift formation of authorities following the election “in order to resume with the necessary reforms, in line with citizens' expectations.”