Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Stasa Kosarac is in Brussels on January 28-30 to officially take over Bosnia-Herzegovina’s presidency of the CEFTA Agreement and Structures. In a panel discussion, Kosarac will outline Bosnian priorities during its one-year presidency, which BiH took over from Albania in January.
“The basis for the BiH Presidency will be the implementation of the CEFTA Agreement and its additional protocols, as well as the Multi-annual Action Plan for the Regional Economic Area, from which the priorities of the BiH Presidency are derived,” said Minister Kosarac.
The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) is a trade agreement between non-EU countries, members of which are now mostly located in Southeastern Europe. Founded by representatives of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, CEFTA expanded to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo in accordance with UNSCR 1244).
Once a participating country joins the European Union (EU), its CEFTA membership ends. As of 1 July 2013, the parties of the CEFTA agreement are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and the UNMIK on behalf of Kosovo.
The original CEFTA agreement was signed by the Visegrád Group countries, that is by Poland, Hungary and Czech and Slovak republics (at the time parts of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic) on 21 December 1992 in Kraków, Poland. It came into force in July 1994. Through CEFTA, participating countries hoped to mobilize efforts to integrate into Western European institutions and through this, to join European political, economic, security and legal systems, thereby consolidating democracy and free-market economics.
The agreement was amended by the agreements signed on 11 September 1995 in Brno and on 4 July 2003 in Bled.
Slovenia joined CEFTA in 1996, Romania in 1997, Bulgaria in 1999, Croatia in 2003 and North Macedonia in 2006.