EU Council Green Light Aftermath

DPC is sharing threads posted on Twitter/X for readers not on that platform.

1/ Last week’s @EUCouncil decision to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina (#BiH) could be interpreted to require ONLY completion of the subset of 8 goals instead of all of the 14 key reform priorities of the May 2019 Avis to actually start talks.

2/ Celebrating from Brussels the EU’s green light for BiH, foreign minister @DinoKonakovic Thursday night in a strikingly open way signaled that his ruling coalition had been handed a (almost cost-free) gift – with a smoother path ahead.

3/ He noted: “The conclusions say that negotiations are opening, that is the most important thing, that the Commission is tasked with preparing a negotiating framework based on the 2022 recommendations…

4/ … This is a confirmation that there is no question of all 14 priorities and that what awaits us is not so demanding. We have a smaller part of the work ahead of us compared to these 13 months.”

5/ Wasting no time in exploiting the EU’s open retreat on reform conditionality, a letter sent Friday by Council of Ministers chair @KristoBorjana in a letter to @OliverVarhelyi telegraphed her real priorities…

6/ …including a BiH election law amendment entered into government procedure that day. The law, proposed by HDZ BiH, continues to take advantage of the EU’s willingness to avert its eyes from the pursuit of divisive and self-dealing agendas. In this case, …

7/ … to scupper any @OHR_BiH imposition of the so-called integrity package to limit election fraud. The new law would change the method of electing the Croat member to the BiH Presidency, to further strengthen the HDZ’s position and harden structural ethno-national gerrymandering.

8/ Bottom line: now that the Council has decided to open talks, the struggle to uphold standards will rest heavily on member states to fight hard to interpret their own conclusions expansively.

9/DPC will advocate specifically on this score in the near future.