The European Commission (EC) plans to publish its Opinion on Bosnia’s candidate status within the first half of the next year, but the timing when it will be published also depends on Bosnia’s ability to answer a set of questions the EC requires to put the assessment together, EC spokesperson Maja Kocijancic told N1 on Thursday.
Bosnia has already submitted its answers to the EC Questionnaire in February but Brussels had 655 follow-up questions that should clarify the ambiguities and those were supposed to be answered by September this year.
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 internal disagreements that stem from deep political and ethnic divisions.
Most of the follow-up questions Bosnia's institutions received later refer to political criteria, while the rest concerns the economy, social policy, employment, transportation policy, and education and culture.
Kocijancic said the EC hopes to get the answers as soon as possible.
“The Opinion assesses whether the country is prepared to start negotiating with the EU or not and which reforms must be implemented for it to be prepared,” she said.
The outgoing Chairman of Bosnia’s Council of Ministers, Denis Zvizdic, told N1 on Wednesday that he expects the Presidency to hand over the answers to Brussels by the end of January 2019.