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The process of expanding the European Union (EU) through the accession of new member states began with the Inner Six, who founded the European Economic Community (the EU's predecessor) in 1958, when the Treaty of Rome came into force. According to the Maastricht Treaty, each current member state and the European Parliament must agree to any enlargement. This was more readily accepted with the prospect of poorer countries wishing to join; contributions from richer countries would help balance the EU budget. The most recent territorial enlargement of the EU was the incorporation of Mayotte in 2014. On 1 January 1995 Austria, Finland, and Sweden acceded to the EU marking its fourth enlargement. It has also been acknowledged that enlargement has its limits, the EU cannot expand endlessly. Since then, the EU's membership has grown to twenty-eight, with the latest member state being Croatia, which joined in July 2013.
In 2008 the EU repeated its willingness to assist the economic and political development of Kosovo through a clear European perspective.
The role of international institutions in Kosovo has been crucial to restoring peace and assisting in the institutional building process and democratization after the war. The presence of these institutions has ensured that Kosovo did not slip into post conflict anarchy but upheld law and order, for all its isolated problems; although a big contribution in this sense can be attributed to the population itself and their tradition of hospitality and mutual respect.
01 March 2016
Following concerted international pressure, Republika Srpska President Dodik 8 Feb announced controversial planned referendum challenging authority of state judiciary to be postponed. Bosnia submitted formal EU membership application 15 Feb.