DEI Bosna i Hercegovina
Council of Ministers - Directorate for European Integration

Accession process

European integration process coordination system
Accession phases
Documents
Coordination of the process of European integration aims at ensuring the highest level of approximation and coherence of institutions at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina to fulfil contractual obligations under the SAA as well as any other obligations stemming from the European integration process. The system of coordination also governs the manner of communication among the institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a view to ensuring a common standpoint of Bosnia and Herzegovina in communication with the European Union institutions. Coordination of the European integration process in Bosnia and Herzegovina is based on the principles of compliance with the existing internal legal and political structure in BiH and safeguarding of competences of all levels of government and their institutions, as laid down in the constitution, in specific areas covered by the process of European integration, ensuring visibility and accountability of all levels of government for timely and effective fulfilment of commitments in the European integration process within their competence. The following links contain documents relating to the system of coordination of the European integration process:
  • Decision on the system of coordination of the European integration process in BiH (Official Gazette of BiH, 72/16, 35/18)
  • Decision establishing the Commission for European Integration (Official Gazette of BiH, 79/16, 93/16, 71/17)
  • Decision establishing working groups for European integration (Official Gazette of BiH, 34/17)
  • List of chairs and deputy chairs of working groups for European integration (Official Gazette of BiH, 42/17)
  • Decision establishing the Political Criteria Working Group, the Economic Criteria Working Group and the Public Administration Reform Working Group (Official Gazette of BiH, 41/17)
  • List of chairs and deputy chairs of the Political Criteria Working Group, the Economic Criteria Working Group and the Public Administration Reform Working Group (Official Gazette of BiH, 50/17)
  • Decision establishing members of the Standing Delegation of BiH to the Stabilisation and Association Council (Official Gazette of BiH, 2/17)
  • Instruction on ministerial conferences in the system of coordination of the European integration process in BiH (Official Gazette of BiH, 43/17)
Timeline of european integration process

Key developments in the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union:

    2019

  • 4 March - Bosnia and Herzegovina submits its answers to additional questions from the European Commission Questionnaire.
  • 29 May - The European Commission adopts its Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s application for EU membership.
  • 2018

  • 28 February - Bosnia and Herzegovina submits its answers to the questions from the European Commission Questionnaire.
  • 20 June - Bosnia and Herzegovina received 655 Follow-up questions to the European Commission Questionnaire.
  • 2017

  • BiH prepares its answers to the questions from the European Commission Questionnaire. Almost 1,200 persons participate in it. There are over 70 meetings of bodies within the integration process coordination system. Some 20,037 pages of text are drafted, translated into English by 143 translators.
  • 2016

  • 15 February - In accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, Bosnia and Herzegovina submits its EU membership application in the period when the Netherlands holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
  • 18 July - The European Commission and Bosnia and Herzegovina initial the Protocol on the adaptation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). The Protocol lays out technical adaptation of the SAA provisions on trade, taking into account Croatia’s accession to the EU in 2013.
  • 20 August - The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopts the Decision on the EU integration coordination system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Decision defines the institutional and operational coordination of institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the EU integration process, as well as joint bodies, their composition, competencies and mutual relations.
  • 20 September – The Council of the European Union calls on the European Commission to prepare its opinion on the EU membership application of Bosnia and Herzegovina and tasks the European Commission with drafting a questionnaire for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • 9 December - Bosnia and Herzegovina is handed the European Commission Questionnaire.
  • 2015

  • May – Bosnia and Herzegovina signs the Framework Agreement with the European Commission on arrangements for implementation of the Union’s financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II).
  • 1 June - The Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina enters into force.
  • 5 and 6 November - The first session of the Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee is held in Sarajevo.
  • December – Initial meetings of the Stabilisation and Association Council (11/12/15) and the Stabilisation and Association Committee (17/12/15) are held in Brussels.
  • 2014

  • January - The EU establishes a new Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) for the period 2014-2020.
  • August – The first conference in Berlin initiates the Berlin Process, which is an intergovernmental initiative aimed at revitalising the multilateral ties between the Western Balkans and the EU, and at improving regional cooperation in the Western Balkans on the issues of infrastructural and economic development (Connectivity Agenda).
  • November – The British-German initiative for BiH sees its presentation. The initiative calls upon the elected representatives of the BiH government to make a written statement so as to commit to institutional reforms at all the levels and to cooperate with the EU on drafting an extensive reform plan (Reform Agenda) that Bosnia and Herzegovina is to use to progress towards the integration process.
  • 2013

  • July - The Republic of Croatia becomes the 28th EU Member State. Bosnia and Herzegovina borders an EU Member State for the first time.
  • 2012

  • 27 June - The first meeting of the High Level Dialogue on the EU Accession Process of Bosnia and Herzegovina is held in Brussels, when BiH is handed the Roadmap for its EU membership application. The second meeting is held in November 2012.
  • 2011

  • June - The first meeting of the EU-BiH Structured Dialogue on Justice is held.
  • 2010

  • December - The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council issues a decision on the visa-free regime for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who are, as of 15 December, free to travel to the countries signatories of the Schengen Agreement. BiH authorities had to meet 174 technical requirements.
  • 2009

  • 15 October – Biometric passports are now issued, as the main requirement Bosnia and Herzegovina had to meet before visa-regime liberalisation.
  • 2008

  • February – The Council of the European Union adopts the third European Partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • 20 February - The Framework Agreement on Rules of Cooperation in the Implementation of Financial Assistance from the European Commission to BiH within the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is signed on 20 February.
  • 5 June – Bosnia and Herzegovina is handed a Roadmap on visa liberalisation. The document sets out the requirements in terms of reforms in the fields of document security, border management, fight against illegal migration, fight against organised crime and corruption, cooperation in combating terrorism and the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms.
  • 16 June - The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is signed.
  • 1 July - The Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related issues enters into force.
  • November - The first meeting of the Interim Committee for Stabilisation and Association is held. The primary task of the body (together with 6 Interim Sub-Committees) is to monitor the fulfilment of obligations set out in the Interim Agreement.
  • 2007

  • January - The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is introduced, designed for all pre-accession activities funded by the European Commission.
  • November - Technical negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement are finalised.
  • 4 December - The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is initialled.
  • 2006

  • January - The first plenary round of the SAP negotiations between the EU and BiH and the first plenary meeting of the Reform Process Monitoring (RPM) are held, having replaced the Consultative Task Force. The Council of the European Union adopts the second European Partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • 2005

  • 25 November - Negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement begin in Sarajevo.
  • 2004

  • March - The Council of the European Union adopts the first European Partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina. This document defines the key (short- and mid-term) priorities in the process of country’s accession to the European Union.
  • 2003

  • March - Work on the Feasibility Study commences. The European Commission hands over to the Council of Ministers of BiH a questionnaire consisting of 346 questions on the economic and political set-up of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other fields relevant for concluding the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
  • 21 June - At the EU-Western Balkans Thessaloniki Summit, the EU confirmed its support to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries. Declaration was adopted - “The Thessaloniki Agenda for the Western Balkans: Moving towards European integration".
  • November - The European Commission adopts the assessment of the Feasibility Study. The Feasibility Study identifies 16 priority areas where substantive progress in reforms would constitute the basis for the European Commission to propose to the Council of the EU to open negotiations with BiH on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
  • 2002

  • December - The European Commission announces that the Roadmap guidelines for the EU accession are mostly implemented.
  • 2000

  • The Autonomous Trade Measures (ATMs) are introduced, facilitating the access of BiH products to the internal EU market by means of asymmetric trade liberalisation (abolishing duties and quotas regarding the export of products to the EU).
  • March - Publication of the EU Road Map. The document defines 18 key steps that BiH must undertake to start working on the Feasibility Study for opening negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
  • 19 and 20 June - At the European Council meeting in Santa Maria da Feira, it was concluded that all the countries involved in the Stabilisation and Association Process were potential candidates for EU membership, and that the objective of the EU was the fullest possible integration of the Western Balkans countries.
  • 24 November - At the Zagreb Summit, heads of state or government of the EU Member States and of the countries participating in the stabilisation and association process (SAP) gave their formal support to the SAP.
  • Decembar - The Council of the European Union adopts Regulation 2666/2000 on an EU assistance programme for reconstruction, development and stabilisation – CARDS (Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation). CARDS is a technical assistance programme of the EU, intended for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).
  • 1999

  • May - Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) commences. The SAP offers a clear EU accession perspective to Bosnia and Herzegovina and other five Western Balkans countries.
  • 3. and 4 June - At the European Council meeting in Cologne, the EU confirmed its readiness to provide opportunities for the Western Balkan countries for full integration and membership in the European Union based on the Treaty on European Union, the Copenhagen criteria (1993) and the Madrid criteria (1995).
  • June - Activities relating to the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe are initiated, aiming at stabilisation of South-Eastern Europe by bringing the countries in the region closer to the Euro-Atlantic integration and by strengthening regional cooperation. A summit of Heads of States and the Governments of Canada, Japan and the USA held in Sarajevo in July 1999, where establishment of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe was endorsed and made official.
  • 1998

  • The EU-BiH Consultative Task Force (CTF) is established, providing technical and expert assistance in the field of administration, regulatory framework and policies.
  • 1997

  • The EU Council of Ministers establishes political and economic requirements for the development of bilateral relations. Bosnia and Herzegovina has an opportunity to benefit from autonomous trade preferences.
infografike
Application for EU membership
Application for EU membership The application for membership in the European Union (EU) is a short letter that the applicant country submits to the EU Council and the representative of the Member State presiding over the EU Council at the time. As a rule, the application for membership is signed and presented by the head of state and/or government and may be supported by a short or rather comprehensive document stating the applicant country’s achievements in the European integration process. The application affirms the country’s European affiliation, highlighting EU accession as its strategic socio-economic and political objective and confirming its readiness to embrace the EU values and commitments stemming from EU membership.

The application of Bosnia and Herzegovina for EU membership was accompanied by the Decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirming and adopting the Statement of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina of January 2015, which was signed by the leaders of all political parties sitting in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Statement of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina unmistakably confirmed that EU accession was the strategic commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina on which there is a political consensus in the country. The Statement also affirmed commitment to the implementation of thorough political, economic and social reforms as a precondition for moving ahead in the European integration process, which executive authorities at all levels further reinforced through a single reform agenda and action plans.

The application for EU membership is the result of the implementation of specific measures in the Reform Agenda which was developed and adopted through the European Union’s new approach to Bosnia and Herzegovina, initiated by foreign ministers of the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany in November 2014. The call for a renewed EU approach to Bosnia and Herzegovina was first voiced by the Republic of Croatia as the 28th EU Member State and was upheld by the Republic of Slovenia. The EU Council endorsed the British-German initiative in December of 2014. Meanwhile, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement came into force.

The EU Council’s conclusions adopting the renewed approach to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU Council’s Decision concluding the SAA with Bosnia and Herzegovina are available here.
Questionnaire of the European Commission
On 15 February 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted the Application for EU Membership which marked the first step towards receiving the EU candidate status and a precondition for starting accession negotiations. At its session held on 20 September 2016, the EU Council considered the EU membership application of BiH and, in line with the procedure laid down in Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, invited the European Commission to submit its opinion on the membership application (Avis). The EU Council’s conclusions of 20 September 2016 are available here.

With a view to preparing the opinion on the application for membership, the European Commission handed over a Questionnaire to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9 December 2016 as an instrument for assessing the degree of compliance with the EU membership criteria and the readiness of BiH to make progress towards receiving the candidate status and opening of the accession negotiations.

Organised in 35 working groups for European integration in accordance with the Decision on the system of coordination of the European integration process in BiH (Official Gazette of BiH, 72/16 and 35/18), the institutions in BiH technically finalised the answers to the Questionnaire through the Information System for the Support to the European Integration Process of BiH. The answers were presented to the European Commission on 28 February 2018.

A total of 1,083 civil servants across all levels of government in BiH, who were appointed to 1,600 positions in 35 working groups for the European integration (some were members of several working groups), prepared the answers to the European Commission's Questionnaire. The process implied legal, technical and linguistic editing of the translation into English. Furthermore, 15 members of the Commission for European Integration and 20 members of the Collegium for European Integration also contributed to the activity. A total of 20,037 pages of answers were produced. In addition to the answers and annexes, 1,151 official documents (laws, regulations, etc.) to which the institutions referred in their responses, were also submitted.

Of the 3,242 questions in the Questionnaire, 2,966 answers (91.50%) were technically finalised in 35 working groups for European integration, 160 answers were agreed on by the Commission for European Integration (4.95%) and 116 answers (3.55%) by the Collegium for European Integration.

The translation of answers was outsourced to 140 translators, whose work was coordinated and monitored by the Directorate for European Integration. A total of 31,177 standard translation pages were translated into English.

Aside from BiH government institutions, civil society organisations and citizens also contributed to the process of providing answers to the EC Questionnaire, the aim of which was to raise public awareness of the overall importance of the European integration process. Seventeen civil society organisations submitted answers to 177 questions in the EC Questionnaire. The majority of answers referred to questions related to the political criteria, and Chapters 19 - Social Policy and Employment and 20 – Enterprise and Industrial Policy.

The European Commission delivered Follow-up questions to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20 June 2016. Answers were submitted to the European Commission in March 2019.The European Commission delivered Follow-up questions to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20 June 2016. Answers were submitted to the European Commission in March 2019.

EC Questionnaire is available here.

Answers of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EC Questionnaire are available here.

Follow-up Questions are available here.

Answers of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Follow-up Questions are available here.
Documents
Sadržaj