Chancellor Karl Nehammer answered this question himself on Thursday evening. In a statement, the chancellor admitted that in the case of Ukraine there had been a “change of mood” in the European Union – “not only in himself”. Germany and France were initially “more than skeptical”. However, the EU Commission’s report has shown that Ukraine and Moldova are “ripe” for EU candidate status. Addendum: “Accession candidate status does not mean accession negotiations,” said Nehammer.
With regard to the skepticism of the population towards EU enlargement, Nehammer said it was important to give Austrians security. There is concern that candidate status will draw you into the war in Ukraine, “that doesn’t mean it.” There is also a parallel discussion going on in the EU about the need to think about structural reforms in the course of enlargement.
Nehammer also saw the possibility that Bosnia-Herzegovina could also receive official EU accession candidate status this year. The prerequisite for this, however, is that it implements important electoral law and constitutional reforms, according to the Federal Chancellor. Nehammer spoke of a “paradigm shift”. It was possible that Bosnia “came back into focus”, although Ukraine was the dominant topic with the war.
Nehammer recalled the earlier demand that Bosnia had to work through 14 reform points. According to the Chancellor, little has happened so far. If Bosnia-Herzegovina now fulfills the electoral law and constitutional reforms, the country has a clear possibility for EU accession candidate status. As soon as all 14 points have been met, EU accession negotiations would also be possible.
Nehammer reported on three and a half hours of intensive discussions at the summit on EU enlargement. The previous Western Balkans summit showed that there was great frustration and that progress was still limited. It was therefore important to also give Bosnia a perspective.
The EU Commission was asked by the summit to speed up the process for candidate status. “That will still show results this year.”