Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the job of the Directorate for European Integration?
2. How to get a job in the Directorate for European Integration?
3. How to apply for IPA funds?
4. What is acquis?
5. To what extent are the laws in BiH aligned with those of the EU?
6. What is the questionnaire of the European Commission?
7. What is the difference between a potential candidate country and a membership candidate country?
8. When will Bosnia and Herzegovina become a member of the European Union?
9. What are the benefits of the membership in the EU?
10. What do the people in Bosnia and Herzegovina think about the accession to the European Union?
11.Is an EU member state obliged to accept the euro as the currency?


1. What is the job of the Directorate for European Integration?

The Directorate coordinates the activities of institutions at all levels, dealing with the Bosnia and Herzegovina integration into the EU. Some of the activities of the Directorate include: reviewing the compliance of laws and bylaws proposed by state institutions with the legal legacy of the European Union (acquis); coordination in the development of strategic documents, information, analysis and reporting in the process of integration, coordination of planning and the use of financial assistance of the European Union; coordination of translation of national legislation in one of the official languages of the EU, information on the process of integration, training civil servants on the EU integration.

2. How to get a job in the Directorate for European Integration?

The admission and recruitment of civil servants, employees, interns and volunteers in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina is performed in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Civil Service in the Institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and bylaws, through a public vacancy published on the website of the Civil Service Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in daily newspapers.

3. How to apply for IPA funds?

In the 2007-2013 period, Bosnia and Herzegovina has two components of the European Union Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) at its disposal. The first refers to the support in the transition and development of institutions and the other to the cross-border cooperation. The beneficiaries of the first component are the institutions and bodies in the public domain, and to a smaller degree the civil society organizations. Private companies and individuals can not apply as the beneficiaries of the first component, but can be implementers of projects, if, during the selection conducted by the European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, they are most successful. The prerequisite for conducting the procedure is the signing of the Financial Agreement between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina for each annual IPA allocation. Beneficiaries of the other component (cross-border cooperation) may be regional and local authorities, regional development agencies, bodies in public ownership, educational and research institutes, chambers of commerce and associations, civil society organizations, etc. Profit organizations cannot be the applicants for funds from the second component. The information for the three bilateral cross border cooperation programs (with Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro), can be found at www.cbc.bih-mne.orgwww.cbc-cro-bih.netwww.srb-bih.org. The information on Adriatic and transnational programs can be found here.

4. What is acquis?

The acquis (also earlier known as the acquis communautaire) is a set of rights and obligations of the EU member states. Although it is not an adequate explanation, the acquis is also often called the "law" of the European Union, and a common translation of the French term acquis communaitaire. Acquis make treaties, international agreements and the general legal principles of the EU, the legislation adopted by the EU institutions, the EU case law and all other obligations the members take within the EU. States that wish to become the members, cannot negotiate about the acquis, but need to adopt it into the domestic legal system and implement it in practice. The scope of the acquis is increasing every day.

5. To what extent are the laws in BiH aligned with those of the EU?

Creating a document called the National Plan of Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA), is the responsibility of each state when aspiring to become a candidate for the EU membership. The largest part of the integration process is exactly the harmonization of national legislation with the acquis. The planning document should define what should be harmonized with EU regulations as well as the deadline, and will serve as an instrument to estimate the level of compliance achieved. With this estimate, we should bear in mind that this is a country with complex structures where multiple institutions or several administrative levels can have a jurisdiction over a certain matter.
The Directorate for European Integration reviews the compliance of laws and regulations with the acquis, proposed and passed by institutions at the state level.
 
6. What is the questionnaire of the European Commission?

When a country sends a request for the EU membership, the European Council calls on the European Commission to make an opinion on that request. In order to prepare the opinion, the European Commission sends a questionnaire with several thousand questions to the applicant country and on the basis of the answers received, the extent to which the country meets the membership criteria is assessed, as well as to what extent it is ready to accept membership requirements. The issues relate to the functioning of institutions, legislation, public finances in all social areas are covered in the negotiating chapters of the acquis. If the opinion is positive, the European Council will decide on granting the candidate status to the country.

7. What is the difference between a potential candidate country and a membership candidate country?

If a state has the status of a candidate, it means that the European Commission has a positive opinion on its application for membership (aka avis) and based on that opinion, the European Council decided to grant the candidate status. The candidate countries, in the EU financial prospects from 2007 to 2013 can use all five components of the pre-accession assistance (IPA), while the potential candidate countries can use two components. A potential candidate country is the one with confirmed European perspective that can apply for the membership once the requirements are fulfilled.

8. When will Bosnia and Herzegovina become a member of the European Union?

According to Article 49 of the Treaty of Lisbon, the country can join the EU if it is geographically located on the European continent (in 1987, Morocco submitted an application for membership, but was rejected on the grounds that Morocco is not a European country) and if the country adheres to the principles of the European Union, i.e. meets the criteria for membership. They include the rule of law, respect of democratic principles, acceptance of the EU acquis into the national legislation and its implementation, and the existence of a market economy based on the principles of competition. During the negotiations on the membership, a country proves the compliance with the criteria for membership and assumes the obligation to fulfill them. The duration of negotiations differs in each case and depends from country to country. For example, Austria negotiated 13 months for the membership in the EU, negotiations of most of the ten countries from the 2004 enlargement lasted for four years, and in case of Croatia six years. Bosnia and Herzegovina is not yet in a position to negotiate on the EU membership and currently has the status of a potential candidate.

9. What are the benefits of the membership in the EU?

The EU membership brings multiple benefits. To what extent they will be used depends on the readiness, capabilities and commitment of each member state. An important value of the EU enshrined in its founding treaties is the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital throughout the Union. For example, citizens of member states can study or establish businesses in any Member State under the same conditions as the local population. Citizens of the union members can vote for the European Parliament and their representatives get the voice in the EU institutions.
In addition, member states have at their disposal a much larger amount of funds in relation to the financial assistance that is available to countries in the enlargement process (candidates and potential candidates).
Being a member of the EU means belonging to a market of 500 million consumers and the world's largest economy. Reaching and adhering to the standards that apply in the EU, indirectly or directly contribute to improving the quality of life. The EU, for example, invests great attention and resources in energy efficiency, development of information technology and environmental protection.
 
10. What do the people in Bosnia and Herzegovina think about the accession to the European Union?

The latest public opinion survey conducted by the Directorate in January 2012 shows that 76.5% of citizens support the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the EU. A third of respondents consider a creation of new and better jobs as the greatest advantage of the EU membership, followed by a guarantee of a lasting peace and stability and freedom of movement.

11. Is an EU member state obliged to accept the euro as the currency?

The membership in the European Union does not automatically mean the membership in the eurozone, where the euro is the currency. In order for the euro to become the currency, a state must meet the convergence criteria that refer to the level of price stability, the amount of budget deficits and the interest rates on long term loans. The convergence criteria must be met by each member state that wants to join the monetary union. All member states are obliged to adopt the euro as their national currency as soon as they meet the convergence criteria (except Denmark and the United Kingdom).