Public train in Sarajevo. Photo: flickr/sgsfoto
Public train in Sarajevo. Photo: flickr/sgsfoto

Bosnia and Herzegovina's rapid advancement (September 2009)

In May 2009, when the European Commission issued its assessments of progress achieved by five Western Balkan countries in visa roadmap implementation (see further below), Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina came in last. Not surprisingly, the Commission did not offer them visa-free travel in its legislative proposal of 15 July. But then things started to change in Bosnia. Roadmap implementation became a priority across all institutions and political parties.

In August and September 2009, ESI and its partner organisation in Bosnia, Populari, conducted research in the country, speaking to close to 40 officials. We wanted to find out if the new dynamism was producing results. It was. By September 2009, Bosnia had fulfilled more benchmarks than Serbia and Montenegro had by May 2009 – two countries that the Commission had proposed for visa-free travel on condition that they meet the last few remaining benchmarks by the time the EU member states vote on the Commission proposal (the vote took place on 30 Nov. 2009).

ESI/Populari's comparison in table form between the state of implementation in Bosnia in May and in September 2009, and a comparison with the situation in the neighbouring countries, shows Bosnia's phenomenal progress.

A report describes in detail what Bosnia has done in relation to each benchmark based on the specific issues that the Commission asked the government in a letter dated 15 July 2009 to resolve.

  • Bosnian Visa Breakthrough – Detailed report of Bosnia and Herzegovina's results in meeting the EU Schengen White List Conditions (October 2009). A Turkish translation of the Bosnia comparative score card May/Sept. 2009 is also available.
  • Letter with annex from the European Commission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (15 July 2009)
The Schengen White List Project