European Western Balkans

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Western Balkan country, which comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third region, the Brčko District, governed under local government.

It has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group.

The country is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan at Tallinn Summit. Moreover, the country has been a member of the Council of Europe since April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union upon its establishment in July 2008.

Bosnia and Herzegovina – along with other Western Balkans countries – was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the Thessaloniki European Council summit in June 2003.

Since then, a number of agreements between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina have entered into force – visa facilitation and readmission agreements (2008), Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-related Issues (2008). The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) has been ratified and entered into force on 1 June 2015.

The EU continues to deploy considerable resources in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The current EU Special Representative (EUSR), Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, is also Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The EUFOR/Althea mission continues to be present in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The operation was reconfigured and reduced to 600 troops as of 1 September 2012, focusing on capacity-building and training, while also retaining the means to contribute to the country’s deterrence capacity. The EU remains committed to strengthening the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina through other instruments, including the reinforced EUSR Office and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).

Important dates

25 November 2005 – Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiations officially opened in Sarajevo

4 December 2007 – EU initials Stabilisation and Association Agreement

1 January 2008 – Visa facilitation and readmission agreements enter into force

16 June 2008 – The SAA and Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related issues signed

15 December 2010 – Visa free regime for Schengen area introduced for all BiH citizens having a biometric passport

27 June 2012 – The EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina launched the High-Level Dialogue on the Accession Process

1 June 2015 – The SAA with Bosnia and Herzegovina enters into force

15 February 2016 – BiH submits its application to join the EU

20 September 2016 – EU Council invites the Commission to present an Opinion on BiH application

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