In this month’s edition of "Country Digest" we focus on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Western Balkans London Summit held as part of the Berlin process on 9-10 July 2018, reaffirmed the European future of Western Balkans and highlighted EU’s commitment to advance cooperation with the region. At the summit, the EU launched a new instrument, the Western Balkans Guarantee, under the Western Balkans Investments Framework. This new instrument will attract and facilitate private investments in a broad range of sectors, such as start-ups and SMEs, climate finance and infrastructure investments, as well as digital and social sectors. The EU has committed 150 MEUR for 2019-2020 to support the Western Balkans Guarantee which aims to leverage investments up to 1 BEUR.
At the margins of the Summit, the UK assured the 6 Western Balkans partners that it will continue to be active in the region even after it leaves the EU, announcing a 12 MEUR worth of investments in reconciliation and digital skills. Furthermore, it pledged 90 MEUR to assist countries to tackle organized crime for 2020-2021 as well as 1.1 MEUR on building cybersecurity capacities.
Next steps include:
v Presentation of further elements of the annual connectivity package for 2018, which already includes 190 MEUR grants for connectivity projects and 30 MEUR for broadband.
v The Austrian Presidency of the EU Council (July – December 2018) has highly prioritized engagement with Western Balkans, as did the Romanian Presidency scheduled for the first half on 2019.
v The design phase of the new Western Balkans Guarantee will be completed by 2018 and is planned to be launched by spring 2019. First investment projects will be selected in 2019 and their implementation will start in 2020.
v A Berlin Process Summit will be held in Poznan Poland in 2019 and security agenda will continue to be in the focus.
v An EU-Western Balkans Summit is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2020 during the Croatian Presidency.
Did you know about Bosnia and Herzegovina & the EU?
- Bosnia and Herzegovina is a potential candidate for EU membership.
- The EU has an increased presence through a Special Representative and a Delegation, while the EUFOR military operation “Althea” assists in training and capacity building of the armed forces.
- The EU is the largest provider of financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- For 2014-2017 the EU has allocated 176.1 MEUR under the IPA II programme. Total EU assistance for the same period was 237.2 MEUR, including 51 MEUR in disaster relief after 2014 floods.
- In August 2018 the EU adopted the revised Indicative Strategy Paper for Bosnia and Herzegovina, allocating 314.9 MEUR for the period 2018-2020. Under the revised paper new sectors such as agriculture and rural development, environment and energy will benefit from EU support.
- Since 2016, Bosnia Herzegovina has received 8 MEUR support under the IPA-II regional programme “Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management”. In August 2018 the EU approved additional assistance of 6 MEUR for migration management.
- The European Investment Bank has invested 2.2 BEUR since 1999.
- Grants amounting to 122 MEUR have been provided through the Western Balkans Investment Framework.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina participates in centrally managed programmes such as Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, Creative Europe, Fiscalis 2020, Customs 2020, Europe for Citizens, COSME and the Third Health Programme.