Bosnia and Herzegovina - Relations with the EU
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a potential candidate country for EU accession following the Thessaloniki European Council of June 2003. On 16 June 2008 the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) which will enter into force once its ratification process has been completed. An Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-related issues , which was signed on the same day, entered into force on 1 July 2008. The European Commission launched a visa liberalisation dialogue with Bosnia and Herzegovina on 26 May 2008. A new European partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina was adopted by the Council on 18 February 2008. On 1 January 2008 the visa facilitation and readmission agreements entered into force. The EU also continues to be present in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Security and Defence Policy.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has profited from EU autonomous trade measures since 2000. Following the entry into force of the Interim Agreement on 1 July 2008, access of products from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU expanded, and EU exports to the country have been granted trade preferences. In 2007, both the country's exports to and imports from the EU increased by 6.3% and 8.8% respectively. Exports represented approximately 15% of GDP, and imports 31% (2007 GDP estimated at € 11 billion). The main source of export revenues are manufactured goods – including textiles, machinery and transport equipment, and raw materials. The EU is the main trading partner of the country. It represents 63% of its total imports and 73% of total exports. Foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks amount to approximately € 4.5 billion, with EU27 accounting for about 50% of total inflows.
Key dates in Bosnia and Herzegovina's path towards the EU
26 March 2009 - Valentin Inzko becomes new High Representative/EU Special Representative
31 July 2008 - BiH and the EC sign the financing agreement for the instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) 2007 National Programme
1 July 2008 - Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related issues enters into force
16 June 2008 - Stabilization and Association Agreement and Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related issues signed
5 June 2008 - European Commission presents roadmap setting out benchmarks for visa liberalisation
26 May 2008 - Visa liberalisation dialogue launched
20 February 2008 - Bosnia and Herzegovina signs the IPA Framework Agreement
18 February 2008 - A new European partnership is adopted by the Council
1 January 2008 - Visa facilitation and readmission agreements enters into force
4 December 2007 - EU initials the Stabilization and Association Agreement
18 September 2007 - Visa facilitation and readmission agreements with the European Community signed
1 July 2007 - Miroslav Lajcak becomes new High Representative/EU Special Representative
2006 - The first Reform Process Monitoring (RPM) meeting is held replacing the Consultative Task Force
25 November 2005 - Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiations are officially opened in Sarajevo
2004 - EUFOR ("Althea" operation) replaces NATO's SFOR mission.
2004 - The EU decides on the first European Partnership for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2003 - The European Union Police Mission (EUPM) is launched as the first European Security and Defence Police (ESDP) mission
June 2003 - Thessaloniki European Council : the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) is confirmed as the EU policy for the Western Balkans. This confirms the EU perspective for the countries.
2003 - The Commission produces a feasibility study assessing Bosnia and Herzegovina's capacity to implement a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
November 2000 - Zagreb Summit launches the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) for five countries of South-Eastern Europe, including Bosnia and Herzegovina.
June 2000 - The Feira European Council states that all the SAP countries are "potential candidates" for EU membership.
1999 - The EU proposes the SAP for five countries of South-Eastern Europe, including BiH.
1998 - EU/Bosnia and Herzegovina Consultative Task Force established.
1997 - Regional Approach: The EU establishes political and economic conditionality for the development of bilateral relations.
Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Security and Defence Policy
The EU continues to deploy considerable resources in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The current EU Special Representative (EUSR), Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, who also continues to be the High Representative, took up his position in July 2007. The EUFOR/Althea mission continues to be present in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following the improved security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU Defence Ministers decided in December 2006 on a force reduction of EUFOR/Althea from some 6,000 to 2,500 troops. The mandate of the EU Police Mission (EUPM) has been extended with two additional years until the end of 2009. The EUPM continues to be focused on police reform and the fight against organised crime. The EU has expressed its intention to reinforce its engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the closure of the Office of the High Representative (OHR)