On March 13, the European Newsroom (enr) spoke to European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi. The interview followed the European Commission’s recommendation for the EU to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Bosnia-Herzegovina, according to our assessment, has reached the necessary level of compliance with [EU] membership criteria. And this is why we have proposed to start the accession negotiations,” Várhelyi told journalists, including reporters present on behalf of the enr.

In 2022, EU leaders granted Bosnia and Herzegovina EU candidate status. Várhelyi explained that, since then, the country has made significant progress in a number of fundamental criteria necessary for the start of accession negotiations. The areas in which progress was made include the rule of law, the democratic functioning of institutions and the fight against money laundering, corruption and organised crime. 

The Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement emphasised that increased support of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina is visible. “It is the European path that can create coherence in the country, and it is the European path which the people support,” Várhelyi added. 

Várhelyi expected EU leaders to greenlight the opening of accession negotiations at the European Council Summit on March 21 and 22. At the gathering in Brussels, EU enlargement policy, including the latest developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine and Moldova is on the agenda.

The contents of the interview were shared with all participating agencies in the enr. A number of agencies published news pieces about the interview on their respective wires. 

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