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Bosnia To Apply For EU Membership In January

The chairman of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s three-man presidency says that the country will officially apply in January to join the European Union after being encouraged by the EU’s positive assessment of its reform progress.

The announcement on December 17 by presidency Chairman Dragan Covic comes after years of delays on the issue.

Bosnia signed a pact on closer ties with the EU --– known as a Stabilization and Association Agreement -- in 2008.

But the agreement was not ratified until June 2015 when Germany and Britain launched a new initiative to encourage economic development.

Bosnia lags behind neighboring Balkan countries on the path to joining the EU.

If its application is accepted, years of difficult negotiations still lie ahead.

Many observers think Bosnia -- politically decentralized along ethnic lines and economically impoverished -- is unlikely to join the EU before 2025.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP