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Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), alongside other Western Balkans countries, was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the European Council's Thessaloniki summit of June 2003. BiH applied for EU membership in February 2016. The Commission adopted its opinion on BiH's EU membership application in May 2019, but internal political instability and lack of political reforms have dampened the country's prospects of joining the EU.

The November I plenary session highlights included statements and debates on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and on the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Parliament also debated statements made by the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) on Turkish drilling activities in European Union waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, and on the situation in ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has become a transit route for migrants heading towards western Europe since early 2018. Around 8 000 migrants are currently present in the country, mainly originating from southern Asia and the Middle East. Reception capacities were expanded in 2018, using EU funds, but remain insufficient. In 2019, BiH has been unable to establish additional locations for temporary reception centres, despite EU funds being available. Access to asylum in BiH is also effectively being ...

The February plenary session highlights included a further debate on the Future of Europe, with Giuseppe Conte, Italy's Prime Minister; debates on Syria, and the future of the INF Treaty and its impact on the EU; and discussions on Roma integration strategies, and on a reflection paper on a sustainable Europe by 2030. Parliament also held debates on the conclusion of three EU-Singapore agreements; the implementation of Treaty provisions; and the rights of LGBTI people. Members adopted legislative ...

This first thematic study of the Peace and Security series focuses on European Union (EU) peacebuilding efforts in the Western Balkans. The series will make an annual evaluation of EU performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region. Examining EU engagement in the Western Balkans, the study assesses the extent to which the Union has been able to transform and strengthen the region's governance, economy and resilience. The study is organised around three key inter-connected ...

The first EU-Western Balkans Summit in a decade and a half takes place in Sofia in May 2018, under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council. That is just one indicator of the EU's renewed engagement with the six countries of the region, with the Commission's February 2018 enlargement strategy reaffirming their perspective of joining the Union. This infographic, one of a series produced by EPRS in cooperation with Globalstat, offers an overview of the main economic and trade data – in particular on ...

Saudi Arabia in the Western Balkans

In sintesi 17-11-2017

The Gulf States, along with other external players, have raised their profile in the Western Balkans in recent years. While most have set out on an economic quest, Saudi Arabia is considered to have a more ideological approach, seeking a strong role among the region's Muslims. In the 1990s Bosnian war, it provided significant aid for the Muslim cause and has stayed in the region to expand its influence, introducing stricter interpretations of Islam that are gradually taking root there.

The United States has contributed greatly to the post-war reconstruction of the Western Balkans and remains a key player. While the region is not as high on the US foreign policy agenda as in the 1990s, the USA has consistently shown commitment to its Euro-Atlantic integration. US engagement is seen as crucial in this historically volatile region, weakened by unresolved past and emerging challenges.

During the Cold War, Turkey's interest in the Western Balkans remained relatively dormant, yet the wars that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the active diplomacy pursued by the Turkish AK political party from 2002 onwards triggered greater Turkish involvement in the region. Nevertheless, Turkey's influence in the Western Balkans remains mainly based on cultural and educational programmes offered to those countries with a large Muslim community and steadily developing ...

Media freedom, a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy, is a priority reform area in the Western Balkans' EU accession agenda. Yet, despite a certain level of preparedness and a broadly developed legal framework, aspirant countries keep facing systemic shortcomings that require long-term sustained efforts. These efforts have stalled in recent years, resulting in a 'no progress' situation.