Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn paid an official visit to Sarajevo on Thursday and met with country’s top-ranking officials.
Following the meeting, Hahn said that the European Commission could publish the Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership application by the end of May.
However, Hahn urged politicians not to speculate about the exact date when the country might be given the status of candidate for membership in the Union.
The European Commissioner underlined that submission of answers to European Commission’s Questionnaire and the follow-up questions did not mean that the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have completed their job.
Hahn explained that the Opinion of the European Commission represented nothing more than some sort of transitional phase, and that work on implementation of socio-economic reforms - including those in the fields of healthcare, as well as creation of conditions for new jobs, and attraction of investments - remained of crucial importance.
Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations reiterated that the authority formation process needed to be completed as soon as possible, in order to start dealing with reforms and speed up the country’s European path.
Furthermore, Hahn called on leaders of political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to resolve some of the most pressing issues in the country, and announced that the EU would provide support on the country’s European path - but greater engagement of the authorities is needed in BiH nevertheless.
The European Commissioner reminded that some of the urgent matters include appointment of the contact person for EUROPOL, and determining a clear structure of competences in handling the migrant crisis.
“Even after the submission of the answers, Bosnia and Herzegovina still has many things to do. This was just one important step, which is followed by many more steps. Another thing is - if you are not capable of appointing one person, for the past two years, which would be the contact person for your connection with EUROPOL, even though this is not one of our conditions, that does show your current political situation, which has to be improved”, underlined Hahn.
Commissioner Hahn also met with parents of late David Dragicevic and Dzenan Memic, Suzana Radanovic and Muriz Memic respectively, with whom he discussed those cases and the matter of corruption in judiciary.
Hahn told media after the meeting that the EU would send an expert to Bosnia and Herzegovina, who will be in charge of helping local authorities improve the judicial system in the country.
According to Hahn, German expert Reinhard Priebe, who has already helped Albania and Macedonia improve their own judicial systems, will arrive in Bosnia and Herzegovina to see what can be done.