S&Ds warmly welcome Bosnia and Herzegovina's application for EU membership
After lagging behind most other countries of the Western Balkan region, Bosnia and Herzegovina today presented a formal application to join the EU. As a staunch supporter of the EU enlargement policy, the S&D group welcomes this development calling on the authorities of the country to step up the reform process in order to make this application a success.
Commenting on this application S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:
"We express our satisfaction and full support of the Bosnia and Herzegovina application for membership of the European Union which reconfirms the country's European aspirations. This very important decision will help the efforts for democracy and prosperity in the country and for stability in the whole region. With this decision the country assumes the responsibility of implementing deep reforms that will strengthen the rule of law, improve the functionality of institutions, and bring prosperity and social justice for all BiH citizens.
"Bosnia-Herzegovina’s European perspective is a priority for the S&D Group. I intend to convey this message in person to the country with a visit before summer 2016."
S&D MEP and shadow rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afzal Khan, added:
"As S&D Rapporteur for Bosnia-Herzegovina, I welcome the country´s formal submission of an EU membership application. Bosnia-Herzegovina has come a long way since the end of the war in 1995. We must keep this positive momentum alive.
"We believe that Bosnia has fulfilled the basic conditions of a credible application. We now have a coordination mechanism that sets out ways for negotiations with the EU. However, we still need to see how the mechanism functions in practice. It is important that the path towards EU membership is a broad and inclusive process for the whole of society. Members of the civil society and citizens must me made part of it.
"We look forward to a year of significant reforms in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This application is not about proving something to us in Europe. Rather, it is a path for the government to start delivering on much needed reform for the benefit of all Bosnians."
S&D vice-chair for foreign affairs, neighbourhood policy and enlargement, Knut Fleckenstein MEP, concluded:
"We welcome the determination of Bosnia and Herzegovina's political leaders to move the country forward on its way towards a European future.
"At the centre of all political and social reforms must be concrete changes and benefits for the everyday life of citizens in Bosnia-Herzegovina."