McGuffie: Croatian Accession to EU Opportunity for BiH

Croatian Accession to the EU will not cause many dramatic and visible changes in the everyday life of BiH citizens, but it will change the way in which it operates, and will affect several other areas, said the spokesman and special representative for the EU Delegatin in BiH Andy McGuffie for new agency Fena on the implications of Croatia’s accession to the EU on BiH.

Starting from 1 July 2013, BiH will share around 1,000 kilometers long border with the EU. Croatia will implement the policies and directives of the EU in many areas.

‘’This will most probably be the first change that BiH citizens will notice’’.

It is up to Croatia to take the necessary steps, including obtaining approval from EU members, as long as they wish to facilitate border crossings for BiH citizens with the use of their identity cards.

‘’It is important that local border control between the two countries be enabled. Citizens who live in an area of 5 kilometers from the border and who have permanent residence in the border area in the last year or longer, can obtain a special pass to cross the border’’, announced McGuffie.

He said that Croatia’s entry to the EU is an opportunity for BiH, as well as its citizens-for its economy, when BiH implements EU standards.

‘’BiH has a reason to reform the own system and legal legislation. Their alignment with the EU, including Croatia, will help BiH foster its own aspirations for EU membership’’, said McGuffie.

Also, he recalled the experience of Slovenia on its way to EU accession, which showed Slovenian employers looking for workers from Croatia, BiH, Serbia and other countries in the region.

‘’The same can happen with Croatia, having in mind that there exists no language barrier between the two countries’’, concluded McGuffie.

Of course, the citizens of BiH have questions about the changes that will come with Croatia’s accession to the EU. He added that the EU Delegation appreciates the efforts being made based on their information.

‘’We wish to thank the Directorate for European Integration of BiH and their recently released brochure “On the Border with the EU’’, which can be found on the website DEI, and where 76 of the most frequently asked questions on this issue have been posted’’, said McGuffie.

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