SARAJEVO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- European Union (EU) Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn handed the government of Bosnia and Herzegovia (BiH) an EU questionnaire on the country's readiness to join the 28-member bloc here on Friday.

Denis Zvizdic, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, received the questionnaire from Hahn, which contains 3,242 questions.

The BiH government must answer the questions in the next six months. The questionnaire will assess BiH's economy, compliance with human rights, the rule of law and other obligations required of countries wishing to become EU member states.

A successful questionnaire means BiH will be ready to move forward in the accession process, namely, to become a candidate country and open the accession negotiations.

"The questionnaire represents the most detailed, most complicated and most complex task for the institutions of BiH," Zvizdic told reporters after a meeting with Hahn.

Hahn stressed that the process of European integration was a process that would bring stability and security to BiH and the consequence of all this was to increase the level of welfare for BiH citizens.

"It is something that brings better prospects for BiH. It will bring jobs and very concrete benefits for the citizens," he said.

On Feb. 15 of this year, BiH formally submitted its application to join the EU.

The EU's 28 member states accepted BiH's EU membership application on Sept. 20 in Brussels and ordered the European Commission to prepare an assessment of the Balkan country's readiness to join the bloc.


SYDNEY, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has posted a flat first-quarter cash earnings of 2.4 billion Australian dollars (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) ending Sept. 30, no thanks to a low interest rate environment, a stronger Australian dollar and higher insurance claims.

Australia's multinational lender on Tuesday said its net interest margin also declined due to higher funding costs, but home lending, domestic business lending and household deposits all grew.

"Loan Impairment Expense (LIE) was 322 million Australian dollars (247 million U.S. dollars) in the quarter, equating to 18 basis points of gross loans and acceptances, compared to 19 basis points in FY16," CBA said in a statement.

"Consumer LIE was higher in the quarter, primarily driven by continued stress in areas of WA and QLD impacted by the mining downturn."

The quarter also saw CBA's troublesome and impaired assets rose from 5.5 billion Australian dollars (4.24 billion U.S. dollars) in the previous period to 6.8 billion Australian dollars (5.24 billion U.S. dollars), reflecting the impact of lower prices in the New Zealand dairy sector.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy told Xinhua that the CBA first-quarter results were broadly in line though some elements did not please its investors.

"There are some areas of some different concern and in the wholesale funding spread and the business lines are reflecting that the environment remains competitive for wholesale banking," he said.

At 16:10 local time (AEDT), CBA shares were down 0.63 percent at 72.07 Australian dollars (55.51 U.S. dollars).

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