BH and the European Union

Accession to the European Union (the Union) is a strategic priority of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a potential candidate for the membership in the Union and participates in the Stabilization and Association Process which has represented a political framework of the European Union towards the Western Balkans countries since 1999. The Stabilization and Association Process includes the following instruments for the strengthening of political, economic and institutional relations between BH and the EU: Stabilization and Association Agreement, European Partnership and the EU financial –technical assistance instruments (IPA, TAIEX, Twinning).

Stabilization and Association Agreement has taken effect on 01 June 2015 and replaced the Interim Agreement, which was in effect since July 2008.  

The key date in the history of the relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union is 15 February 2016 when Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted its application for the membership in the Union to the Council of Europe, which has confirmed a clear European perspective and commitment to the basic values of the Union.

The European Union is a political, economic and monetary union and its membership includes very complex and demanding criteria. In this stage of European integration, the EU requirements for BH, as a potential member, are based on the conclusions of the European Council passed at the meeting in Copenhagen in 1993:

  • Political criterion: Stability of democratic institutions and the rule of law – respect of civil rights and protection of national minorities;
  • Economic criterion: firmly established market instruments and the functioning of market economy and the ability to resist competitive pressures and the ability to adjust to the EU market mechanisms;
  • Legal criterion: Readiness to take over the obligations arising from the membership, i.e. commitment to the objectives of the political, economic and monetary union. In 1995, an additional requirement, the so-called Madrid criterion, was agreed, which applies to administrative conditions and the ability of the administrative structures of the state for the successful implementation of acquis communataire.


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