Bosnia may be granted EU candidacy status as early as next week

European Union leaders may grant Bosnia-Herzegovina official candidacy status as early as Dec. 15’s summit in Brussels, according to people familiar with the plan.

The move, a key step on the long path toward membership of the bloc which would require approval of all 27 EU member states, would be a major boost for Bosnia. It’s still grappling with the fallout from the Balkan wars of the 1990s, which the U.S.-brokered Dayton accords in 1995 brought to an end.

Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob, speaking Tuesday at an EU-Western Balkans summit in Tirana, said it’s “only a question of time when the political decision will be made.”

Technical details on Bosnia’s candidacy “show big progress” and he’s still optimistic that a positive decision, which Slovenia is pushing for, can be made next week in Brussels, Golob told reporters.

Bosnia is split into two competing areas — the Serbian-dominated Republika Srpska and a Muslim-Croat led region — and the leader of the Bosnian Serbs regularly talks of seceding from the nation altogether.

They are frequently at loggerheads over issues from the size of the military to the budget and land reform, though they’ve avoided an escalation into armed conflict.

The EU has helped to keep a lid on tension by dangling the possibility of membership, which has been delayed by Bosnia’s slow progress on reforms. – BLOOMBERG