Bosnia is applying for EU membership in the hope of catching up with its neighbors on the EU path and says it will speed up the required reforms in expectation that the Union will grant the country candidate status in 2017.

President Dragan Covic submitted the application to the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister, Bert Koenders in Brussels on Monday.

Bosnia knocked on the door in 2008 when it signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU 13 years after its bloody conflict ended that left the country ethnically divided. Unsolved wartime quarrels hindered the necessary reforms and left the country lingering behind its Balkan neighbors.