Western Balkan leaders agree BiH should get EU candidate status

NEWS 12.09.2022 14:19
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Western Balkan leaders sent a message from the Brdo-Brijuni summit to the European Union, on Monday, to grant Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status by the end of 2022.

“I am happy and grateful that the meeting ended positively. The discussions we had were constructive. There are things that divide us, but we have to understand where our differences are and overcome them. The discussions were not as dramatic as to distance us from adopting the conclusions. Unfortunately, we couldn’t adopt the declaration because there were certain problems that divided us. But the Brijuni Presidency confirmed once again that EU enlargement is important as an urgent solution for the stability of our region. We call for progress in the enlargement process. We call for securing BiH the candidate status by the end of 2022. Commitment to dialogue is the only way to overcome any differences or misunderstandings in our relationship,” said Pahor.

Speaking about the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, Pahor said, in response to a journalist's question, that no one called on Serbia to recognize Kosovo, but to continue the dialogue in order to ensure peace and stability not only for those two countries but the entire region.

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said that they did not discuss it because it would be a point of no return. He called on countries, which have not yet done so, to recognize Kosovo.

“My proposal in the preparation of this meeting was to mention the constituency of the people in BiH in the document. To us, that seems like the minimum standard, but some colleagues from BiH didn’t accept this. It was my duty to suggest it. We concluded that we will make a declaration, but in the end, we still found something in common”, said Milanovic.

“Legitimate representation of the constituent peoples at all levels of government in BiH is key to the stability of the state, as well as the sincere commitment of all political leaders to the process of electoral reforms in full compliance with EU standards”, this should have been stated in the final document. BiH representatives did not agree to the declaration with that wording, and Croatia did not want to accept the declaration without it.

When asked how realistic it is for the EU to grant BiH the status by the end of this year, Milanovic said that he did not know.

Pahor stated that he is in favour of a policy that includes small steps and that the EU should be asked to reconsider its decision.

“The candidate status is a symbolic step, but we have a geopolitical problem that we have to solve,” said Pahor.

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