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EU leaders set to open door for Bosnia’s accession

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European leaders are set to give the political green light to the opening of accession talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to a draft document dated March 19 and seen by POLITICO.

The EU granted Bosnia candidate status in December 2022. The European Commission last week gave a positive recommendation to start formal accession negotiations, which EU leaders now plan to follow.

The text includes conditions for the accession talks, saying that the next part of the process can only happen “once the relevant steps set out in the Commission’s recommendation of 12 October 2022 are taken,” meaning that Bosnia needs to make more progress on its homework before it can enter the bloc.

The current draft will be discussed by EU ambassadors Wednesday and by EU leaders Thursday. Several diplomats were optimistic the current language on Bosnia will ultimately be adopted by leaders.

One diplomat from a country initially more skeptical of Bosnia’s progress to date, who was granted anonymity to discuss the topic candidly, said that the second part of the paragraph is key. “All the reforms we’ve agreed really need to be completed before any next step can happen for Bosnia.”

In the lead-up to Thursday’s summit, seven European countries had urged their counterparts to follow the recommendation of the European Commission on Bosnia. Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Greece, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia had said the bloc should “seize the momentum and the current window of opportunity,” according to the letter, previously reported by POLITICO.

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