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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Membership status

Candidate country

Background

Bosnia and Herzegovina - along with other Western Balkans countries – was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the Thessaloniki European Council summit in June 2003.

Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens benefits of visa-free travel to the Schengen area since 2010. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) entered into force on 1 June 2015; its trade provisions have been applied since 2008, leading to progressive trade liberalisation.

Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for EU membership in February 2016. The Commission adopted its Opinion (Avis) on the EU membership application of the country in May 2019, identifying 14 key priorities for the country to fulfil in view of opening EU accession negotiations. The EU Council endorsed the Opinion and key priorities in December 2019. The Opinion constitutes a comprehensive roadmap for deep reforms in the areas of democracy/functionality, the rule of law, fundamental rights and public administration reform.

In October 2022, the Commission recommended Bosnia and Herzegovina for candidate status, on the understanding that a number of steps are taken. In December 2022, the European Council granted Bosnia and Herzegovina the status of candidate country.

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 Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The EU Special Representative (EUSR), Johann Sattler, is also Head of the Delegation of the European Union.

The EU military mission EUFOR Althea is present since 2004 in Bosnia and Herzegovina with an executive mandate of the UN Security Council to support the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in maintaining a stable and secure environment in the country.

More information on the country's relations with the EU

Factsheets and Factographs available to download:

Timeline

  1. December 2022
    The European Council grants candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  2. October 2022
    The Commission recommends to grant Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status, on the understanding that a number of steps are taken.
  3. October 2020
    The Commission adopts an Economic & Investment Plan to support and bring the Western Balkans closer to the EU.
  4. December 2019
    The EU Council endorses Commission’s Opinion in its conclusions, on the EU membership application of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  5. 29-05-2019
    The Commission adopts its Opinion (Avis) on the EU membership application of Bosnia and Herzegovina, identifying 14 key priorities.
  6. 20-09-2016
    EU Council invites the Commission to present an Opinion on BiH application.
  7. 15-02-2016
    Bosnia and Herzegovina submits its application for EU membership.
  8. 01-06-2015
    The SAA with Bosnia and Herzegovina enters into force.
  9. 01-09-2011
    Delegation of the European Union and Office of the EU Special Representative become one reinforced EU presence.
  10. 15-12-2010
    Visa free regime for Schengen area introduced for all BiH citizens having a biometric passport.
  11. 27-05-2010
    Commission adopts proposal allowing citizens of Albania & Bosnia and Herzegovina to travel to Schengen countries without a short-term visa.
  12. 01-07-2008
    Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related issues enters into force.
  13. 16-06-2008
    Stabilization and Association Agreement and Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related issues signed.
  14. 18-02-2008
    Council adopts new European partnership.
  15. 01-01-2008
    Visa facilitation and readmission agreements enter into force.
  16. 04-12-2007
    EU initials Stabilization and Association Agreement.
  17. 18-09-2007
    Visa facilitation and readmission agreements signed.
  18. 25-11-2005
    Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiations opened.

Key documents