BRUSSELLS, Belgium, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Continuing a process started in 2008, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country of 4 million people on the Balkan Peninsula, officially submitted its application to join the 28-state European Union.
"As some forces across our continent are questioning the very existence of our union, Bosnia-Herzegovina's application shows that the need of a united European continent is still strong among our peoples," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is the last of the former Yugoslavian republics to attempt to join the EU.
Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite state presidency, Dragan Covic said membership in the EU would help his country's economic outlook, including the chance to export more milk and meat, and bring in much-needed cash from outside investors.
Bosnia's Council of Ministers passed the resolution to submit the application secretly January 26. Covic refused to comment on allegations of treason from opposing political parties.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is politically divided into the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska. The two have their own president, government and Parliament, while the full country's government is operated by the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly, who represent three of Bosnia's constituent peoples -- Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The country has struggled to recover from a civil war that ended in 1995.