Elmar Brok.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ ua

The Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Elmar Brok, said in Sarajevo on Thursday that the European Union expected Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to step up meeting the requirements set for possibly obtaining EU candidate status, confirming that this includes opening the market for duty free imports from Croatia.

Brok visited Sarajevo at the helm of a delegation including Croatian members of the European Parliament Tonino Picula and Andrej Plenkovic. They talked about the situation in BiH with its Council of Ministers Chairman Denis Zvizdic.

We believe this country belongs in Europe, Brok said after the talks, adding that the implementation of BiH's 2015 reform plan was important not only for European integration but the improvement of the overall situation too.

Without those reforms, there will be no more foreign investments and without them, one cannot expect the record high 27 percent unemployment to be dealt with, Brok said.

BiH submitted its application for EU candidate status in February, but for it to be considered, the country must amend its interim trade agreement with the EU so that it can be applied to Croatia. It must also set up a coordinating mechanism for relations with the EU and publish the results of a 2013 population census.

We believe the issue of aligning the interim trade agreement will be solved soon. That's a very important matter not only for BiH's relations with Croatia but also for BiH's access to the EU market, Brok said, adding that the coordinating mechanism was important because BiH must be able to speak with one voice in the negotiations with Brussels.

He said the publication of the census results was BiH's obligation to international organisations. Those are the three known conditions BiH must meet so that the membership application can be considered in July and so that it can be granted in 2017, he said.

Brok said everyone in the EU was aware that BiH's complicated structure hampered reaching agreement and solving problems, but that they wanted the problems to be solved and the country to progress.

Zvizdic said there was progress in meeting those three conditions such as yesterday's decision to publish the census results. "This shows BiH's willingness to respond in time to its obligations and send the message that it's willing to actively and persistently work on the European integration path."

He said the alignment of the interim trade agreement was in the home stretch and that the coordinating mechanism for relations with the EU would be agreed in a matter of weeks. "All that will pave the way for considering the candidate status application."

Latest news

No early parliamentary election in Serbia this year - media

There will be no early parliamentary election in Serbia this year, electronic media in Belgrade said on Sunday.

"Moonlight" wins best picture after on-stage Oscars mixup

The coming-of-age drama about an African American boy growing up gay in a poor neighbourhood in Miami was made for just 1.5 million dollars. Its director and co-writer, Barry Jenkins, hadn't made a film in years. And it was up for the best picture prize against "La La Land," the smash hit musical that tied the record for Oscar nominations this year.

Emma Stone is best actress in winning night for 'La La Land'

Emma Stone won the best actress Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards for her role in the movie musical "La La Land" on Sunday.

Casey Affleck wins best actor at Oscars

Casey Affleck won the best actor trophy at the Oscars in Los Angeles on Sunday for his portrayal of a taciturn janitor with a troubled past in "Manchester by the Sea."

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.