However, Solana told reporters on Monday the start of talks on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement depended on the reform of Bosnia's police - the last major Bosnian institution that is divided along ethnic lines.

Solana said the EU wanted to open talks around the 10th anniversary of the 21 November, 1995, accord concluded in Dayton, Ohio, to end Bosnia's civil war.

"That would be our aim, but for that, the Bosnia-Herzegovina leaders will have to move, and move fast, in particular on the reform of the police," he said.

He also told Bosnia's leaders that full cooperation with the international war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia was "fundamental" to the country's relations with the EU.

Bosnia, along with Balkan neighbours Serbia-Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia, is seeking to gain candidate status with the EU.