International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Eichhorst warns time is running out for Bosnia to adopt three key laws

February 6, 2024

Director General for Europe at the EU External Affairs Service (EEAS) Angelina Eichhorst arrived on a two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In an exclusive interview for N1, she said that she hopes this short visit will be good. "It is the right moment for BiH to take a real step towards the EU membership," she said. She noted that BiH must adopt the top three laws the EU insists upon and start the cooperation with Frontex, which are compared to the 14 priorities of the European Commission.

“There were many visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina in January and everyone repeats the message that now is the right time. We have 5-6 weeks until the European Council meeting,” said Eichhorst.

She was asked to rate the previous work of BiH politicians, to which she said:

“My first question is always what are the conditions in which the BiH citizens live? All over the world, economic and existential issues arise. BiH has issues of security, and unemployment, but now we have a dynamic that we can show to Brussels, not only in terms of economic matters but regarding the adoption of the necessary legislation. I understand that it is not a priority in the lives of the citizens of BiH, but we hope that what is happening in the various legislative bodies will offer citizens hope for a better future, which can be found in the EU.”

The most crucial reforms for her are the 1+3 laws.

“Frontex – negotiations need to start and this is important as the next step of the accession and three key laws – the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, the Law on Conflict of Interest and the Law on Courts. A lot of discussions were held about it, we know that there was also a meeting of the coalition leaders and we hope that this will be adopted. I believe that these decisions can be made. If they are adopted and the negotiations with Frontex begin, the President of the European Commission will be in a position to inform the heads of governments of the EU states and the 27 members of the council that this has been done.”

She was asked whether she agreed with James O'Brien, the Assistant Secretary of State’s criticism, to which she noted:

“The US is our ally and partner, we truly believe that the priority is the BiH’s membership in the EU. We have a unique position with the Americans when it comes to the Western Balkans. The most important thing is that we cooperate closely. We have different approaches. The EU always emphasizes that when we have those who are opponents of the European path, we will not turn our heads, we will clearly state what our and expectations of the citizens are. The laws being talked about touch on European values. If the Law on Money Laundering is not adopted, it brings negative consequences to the country and its reputation.”

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/eichhorst-warns-time-is-running-out-for-bosnia-to-adopt-three-key-laws/

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