Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative (EUSR) in BiH Lars-Gunnar Wigemark said on Tuesday that the year of 2025 - mentioned in the European Commission’s strategy for ‘A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans’ - did not represent a deadline, but rather an encouragement.
That is why, according to Wigemark, it is necessary for all politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina to find a common goal regardless of their ethnicity, and make sure that BiH can achieve progress towards becoming an EU Member State.
“We have seen before that the European path is being used as an instrument for different political interests”, said Wigemark.
The EUSR noted that the Strategy had confirmed the doors of the EU were open for all the countries in the region: “This is a game changer for the whole region, including Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the first time all six countries are offered a comprehensive plan of action for joining the EU”, he said.
Wigemark pointed out that the final version of the Strategy did not include the 2019 and 2023 deadlines for BiH, adding that the European Union was not focused on deadlines, but on results.
“We do not have a model for BiH. It is a set of principles, standards and rules you need to meet just like any other country aspiring to become an EU member. Current member countries, including Romania and Bulgaria, also had to meet those standards”, said Wigemark, and added that some parts of the Dayton Peace Agreement needed to be changed.
“The game has started and that represents an important difference the Strategy brings. Of course, some countries have progressed more. We know from our previous experience that it can be changed. Ten years ago Bosnia and Herzegovina had a chance to achieve significant progress, but it faced deadlock”, Wigemark concluded.