Tuesday

26th Mar 2019

Nato grants Bosnia pre-membership status

Nato foreign ministers gathered in Tallinn on Thursday (22 April) agreed to include Bosnia and Herzegovina in the military alliance's official pre-accession programme dubbed the membership action plan (MAP), but linked the process to a series of outstanding reforms in the fragile post-Yugoslav state.

The decision was taken after intense discussions, with some members arguing that Bosnia was not yet ready for the step, while others, notably Turkey, pressed strongly for it. The programme offers technical assistance and practical support in reforming a country's defence and security structures ahead of accession.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Nato ministers are hoping the candidate status will spur reforms in Bosnia (Photo: Nato)

"Last night Nato foreign ministers made an important decision to invite Bosnia and Herzegovina to join Membership Action Plan, but made clear that there are still important reform issues that need to be solved," Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote on this Facebook page.

"All Balkan countries should have the prospect of integration into the Euro-Atlantic community," he added.

Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for MAP last year. But at a meeting in December, Nato foreign ministers decided to postpone its inclusion in the programme, pending a series of reforms which had stalled due to political bickering between the country's Serb, Bosniak and Croat leadership.

"Since then, Bosnia and Herzegovina has made significant progress on reform. Nato foreign ministers welcome its decision on destruction of surplus ammunition and arms and its new ISAF contributions (soldiers in Afghanistan)," a Nato statement reads.

One of the outstanding issues, however, is defence property, which should be solved before the multi-ethnic state is accepted into the Nato fold.

The leadership of the largely autonomous Serb community in Bosnia, Republika Srpska, is against transferring these properties from regional to federal level, Waz.EUobserver reported.

Meanwhile, Bosnia's progress towards Nato membership is likely to hit a nerve in Moscow. Russia's envoy to Bosnia already warned against the country joining the military alliance, seen by Moscow as an aggressor during the Yugoslav war.

Nato enlargement is considered a threat to national security in the new Russian military doctrine put forward in February by President Dmitri Medvedev. However, this wording refers more to Ukraine and Georgia, who are Russia's immediate neighbours, than the Balkan countries.

Both Kiev and Tbilisi sought to be accepted for a Membership Action Plan in 2008, but Nato members hesitated in granting it to them, amid staunch opposition from Russia. After the August war between Georgia and Russia, MAP for these two countries seems to have been postponed indefinitely, although it has been promised that they will join eventually.

Bosnia's real estate row obstacle on road to Nato integration

Nato foreign ministers are expected to take a decision at their meeting in Tallinn this week on whether to include Bosnia and Herzegovina into the alliance's official pre-accession programme known as the Membership Action Plan (MAP), Nato officials and diplomats said.

Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem

Romania will move its embassy to Jerusalem, its prime minister has said, shattering the EU line on the Arab-Israeli conflict while the country holds the EU rotating presidency.

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Opinion

Russia and money laundering in Europe

After Danske Bank, both the US and the EU need to abandon the principle in bank regulation that it is all right to be a crook as long as you are big.

News in Brief

  1. May admits 'not sufficient support' for third Brexit vote
  2. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'
  3. May 'effectively out of power', says Scottish leader
  4. May under pressure to resign over Brexit endgame
  5. Million march against Brexit, five million sign petition
  6. Italy first G7 country to sign China Belt and Road deal
  7. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  8. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  2. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  3. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  4. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  5. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  6. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  7. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  8. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us