Becirovic is Director of International Institute for Middle East and Balkans Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana
The announcement of the President of the BH Presidency Dragan Covic about his decision to submit the application for the EU membership by 15 February, has divided the public. Some experts consider it a premature move for the existing government, which would only bring a new set of problems upon BiH. After all, Bruxelles is not entirely enthusiastic about the way of thinking of our government.
The application was supposed to be submitted only upon receiving a positive signal from Bruxelles. In this case, however, what has arrived from Bruxelles as well as some of the most powerful members of the EU, is a signal to hold off with submitting the application – says to Patria Dr Zijad Becirovic, Director of International Institute for Middle East and Balkans Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana.
PATRIA: President of the BH Presidency Dragan Covic has announced that BiH will be submitting an EU membership application by 15 February. Considering clear signals from Bruxelles not to do so until all the conditions will have been met, what can happen now with such application?
BECIROVIC: Speaking from the experience of the countries which have had the ambition to become EU members, the application was to be submitted only upon the receipt of a positive nudge from Bruxelles. In this case, Bruxelles and some of the most powerful countries of the EU have been sending signal to hold off with submitting the application until it is better prepared by the end of this year. If the application gets submitted prematurely, it could cause a failure which nobody in BiH needs right now.
PATRIA: Do you have any information about the position of the European officials concerning the move announced by Covic?
BECIROVIC: As I said before, the EU top has been taken by surprise; yet they do not expect it to come through just now because the top priority is finding a solution for a coordination mechanism, adaptation of the Stabilization and Accession Agreement (SAA) and some other issues.
Having said that, I do not doubt good intentions of the President of the BH Presidency, Dragan Covic; I merely think that submitting the application at this moment would prove premature. I trust that the EU should grant an easier road to the EU membership because of all the mistakes and 'sins' upon that country in the 90-ies of the last century. If we recall how Bulgaria and Romania became members of the EU (with minimal conditions and low criteria), we can conclude that BiH deserves a privilege on its path to the EU membership. That is the way for Europe to clear its conscience at least to some degree about BiH.
PATRIA: Could Bosnia and Herzegovina be blocked on its way to the EU due to the incomplete application?
BECIROVIC: Road to the EU has been blocked for years for BiH; submitting a poorly prepared application would just prove the point; it would once more show and prove what kind of people lead Bosnia and Herzegovina and it would, therefore, tell more about its leaders than anything else.
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