Reports 2016

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership bid: A hurdle race with itself

14 November 2016


In the past year and half, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s long-stalled integration prospects have seen a remarkable upturn. The meaningful progress that the country has achieved in the implementation of the Reform Agenda, as well as its ability to agree on two key EU requests: (1) the modification of the Stability and Association Agreement in order to account for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s trade links with Croatia and (2) the creation of a functional coordination mechanism on EU matters, have persuaded the European Union’s 28 member states this September to accept Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership application submitted back in February. The avis, which the European Commission has now been asked by the Council to prepare, will reflect the extent to which Bosnia and Herzegovina succeeds in maintaining the reform momentum, especially in the area of rule of law and public administration, and whether it manages to demonstrate concrete efforts in the implementation of the agreements reached so far, including the Sejdić-Finci ruling. For all the good news and great expectations, the results of this October’s local elections and of the referendum in Republika Srpska on this entity’s ‘statehood day’, serve as powerful reminders of the potential traps still looming on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU track. At this Policy Briefing Josip Brkić, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina addressed a number of key issues, such as the country’s main priorities for the foreseeable future, how Bosnia and Herzegovina plans to address on-going institutional and political dilemmas, and what role the EU and other international actors should play in assisting the country advance towards accession.