Sunday

23rd Feb 2020

EU to implement Bosnia association pact

  • Commercial billboard on war-damaged building in Mostar, Bosnia (Photo: il desiderio di una vita normale)

EU foreign ministers agreed on Monday (16 March) to "proceed with the conclusion and entry into force" of the Stabilisation and Association agreement (SAA) with Bosnia and Herzegovina, a first step towards EU accession talks with the country.

No date was set for the conclusion of the accord, but the EU called on Bosnia's leadership to "fully uphold its commitments and obligations".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

These commitments mainly include the respect of the Copenhagen criteria on democracy, rule of law, human rights and protection of minorities.

In the wake of last year’s protests in Bosnia, the EU insists that socio-economic reforms outlined in a compact for growth and jobs adopted last year are implemented to reduce poverty and inequalities.

Scarred by the sequels of the 1992-1995 war that killed around 100,000 people, paralyzed by institutions divided between the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian community and plagued by endemic corruption, Bosnia is the only Western Balkans country that has not yet formally applied for EU membership.

An SAA was signed by the EU and Bosnia in 2008 but no progress was made until late 2014 when the German and British foreign ministers launched an initiative to revive the agreement.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Philip Hammond proposed to conclude the SAA in exchange for a written commitment from Bosnia party leaders to make socio-economic and administrative reforms.

On 23 February, during a visit by the EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini to Sarajevo, the Bosnian parliament unanimously adopted a declaration committing the country to EU demands.

The SAA will allow Bosnia to benefit from EU financial and technical assistance and from tariff free access to EU markets for some of its products.

The next step for the country, formal accession talks with the EU, remain a long-term perspective, however.

"Meaningful progress on the implementation of agenda for reforms will be necessary for a membership application to be considered by the European Union," said EU ministers in a statement.

Letter

The EU’s promising new initiative for Bosnia and Herzegovina

The new EU initiative for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European path deserves strong support from those in the international community interested in the country’s economic prosperity and successful integration into the EU.

Opinion

Bosnia: A new opportunity for getting closer to the EU?

All Bosnian politicians have declared their commitment to European integration. This remains true despite the growing influence of Russia and its anti-EU course following the events in Ukraine.

Opinion

Srebrenica revisited

Twenty years after the massacre, Srebrenica still triggers dispute, and an endless stream of resolutions.

Opinion

EU needs to confront Dodik

Past concessions have merely delayed the day of reckoning with Bosnian Serb separatists.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight

EU to publish new enlargement method

EU hopefuls will know more about the hoops they will have to jump through in future when the European Commission publishes its new "enlargement methodology" this week.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us