Bosnia has finally provided answers to the additional questions the European Commission had for the country before it debates whether it deserves the status of an EU candidate but because they came late and incomplete, this cannot be described as a historic moment, European Parliament Rapporteur for Bosnia, Cristian Dan Preda, said on Monday.
Bosnia 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 as a part of a regular procedure of obtaining the Commission's opinion on its potential candidate status.
It took the country a year to provide the initial 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 relates to the economy, social policy, employment, transportation policy, education and culture.
“It is good that the process is completed, but I can’t help noticing this big delay of five months,” Dan Preda told Deutsche Welle.
“Apart from that, there is this information that some of the additional questions were not answered,” he said, adding that this was “not a historic moment, but just the finalisation of the first step.”
“And there will be many more until Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes an EU member,” he said.
Bosnia needs to form its government without delay following the October 2018 General Election and continue implementing the required reforms, he stressed.
Political analyst Adnan Cerimagic told N1 that Bosnia providing the answers at all is seen as success in Brussels.
“For the European Commission - Bosnia and Herzegovina is a decade behind Albania,” Cerimagic said.
“The challenge for Bosnia will come in the next few months, to change that image on Bosnia (...), to show that that image is not true and doesn’t reflect reality,” he said.