Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
In 1995, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended with the conclusion of the Dayton-Agreement. This agreement provides for a complicated State structure, consisting of State institutions on the one hand and two “Entities” – the Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation – on the other hand. There is a cross-party consensus on a swift rapprochement to the European Union which is also shared by a clear majority of the population.
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with European Union was signed on 16. June 2008 and is currently being ratified by European Union Member States. The corresponding Interim Agreement has entered into force on 1. July 2008. The granting of MAP-Status to BiH at the NATO-summit in Tallinn am 24 April 2010 opened a conditional perspective of NATO-membership; issues like defence property however remained unsolved.
January 2008 saw the entry into force of Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements which i.a. allow obtaining free visas for travels into the Schengen Area under certain conditions. Negotiations for full visa liberalization, which had been ongoing since May 2008, were successfully concluded at the end of 2010. Since December 15th 2010 BiH Nationals, in possession of biometric passports, no longer require a Visa to enter the Schengen- Area.
The post of High Representative of the International Community has been taken over by the Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko in March 2009. Currently, the European Union is preparing for the planned transition from the Office of the High Representative to a reinforced European Union presence. After fulfilment of the necessary conditions by Bosnia and Herzegovina, the competent Peace Implementation Council Steering Board shall issue a decision to close the Office of the High Representative and transfer its responsibilities to the Bosnian authorities. The Military EU-Mission EUFOR/ALTHEA is lead by the Austrian Major-General Bernhard Bair.