Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has not yet harmonized its visa regime with the visa regime of the European Union (EU), although, as a candidate country from December 15th, it has the obligation to do so.
In September, the EU Council decided to suspend the facilitated visa regime with Russia due to Russian aggression against Ukraine.
However, BiH still applies the visa-free regime with Russia, with which it signed the Agreement in 2013.
The issue of the visa regime with Russia arose after the arrival of a group of Chechens, Russian citizens in BiH.
Their goal is Croatia, from which they note that all third countries that have the status of candidates for the EU have the obligation to harmonize their visa regime with the visa regime of the Union.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of BiH did not answer the question about why BiH did not harmonize the visa regime with the EU, and what is needed to do so.
What are the next steps for BiH?
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, BiH, through its mission in Brussels, has voted for several packages of sanctions introduced by the EU to Russia.
However, the sanctions did not ”take root” in practice, considering that the decision on their implementation was not confirmed by the BiH Council of Ministers, due to the opposition of the ministers from Republika Srpska (RS).
Judging by the statement of the president of the RS, Milorad Dodik, the ministers from that BiH entity will continue to oppose sanctions against Russia in the future.
”The RS will not change its foreign policy positions regarding Russia and Russia remains an important partner of the RS,”Dodik said on December 28th, stating that the RS still advocates a policy of neutrality regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Radio Slobodna Evropa reports.