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European Union Accession

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Deputy Eamon Gilmore

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Snippet Contents:

As the Deputy has said, Croatia will accede to the European Union on 1 July. Progress has also been made in respect of Serbia and Kosovo, and High Representative Ashton brokered a significant agreement between the two Prime Ministers a number of weeks ago which will allow for progress to be made on their accession. Progress has been made in respect of all the countries in the Balkans with the exception of Bosnia-Herzgovina. The aim of the European Union is to support and embed a stable and viable Bosnia-Herzegovina, co-operating with its neighbours and irreversibly on track towards EU membership. EU membership for Bosnia-Herzegovina is firmly tied to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the country. The EU strategy towards Bosnia-Herzegovina was set out in the European Council conclusions in March 2011 and the successive reinforcing conclusions. Since September 2011, we have installed a reinforced and comprehensive presence in the country, combining the assets of the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the European Union Special Representative office, while the European Union military force, the EUFOR ALTHEA, remains present in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Great efforts have been made to encourage the political leaders of Bosnia-Herzgovina to move forward with reforms. Those reforms have not happened. There were hopes last year, following the agreement to form a government and the passing of two laws to move ahead with the stabilisation and association agreement, that Bosnia's leaders were at last putting the interests of the country first and doing what was required to move forward on EU accession.