Will the new initiative for Bosnia and Herzegovina succeed?

Recently, a conference of Southeastern European foreign ministers took place in Berlin, organized by the Aspen Institute at the British Embassy. Philip Hammond and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the British and German foreign ministers respectively, presented a new initiative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). They concluded that the country does not function and the situation is not sustainable. The future of BiH lies in the EU, provided it fulfils the necessary criteria for membership. However, taking into account the specific nature of the country’s situation, they have suggested making...

Greater Serbia and Greater Albania do not exist: The myth of bad Serb-Albanian relations

The incidents during the recent football match between Serbia and Albania and the fall-out with attacks against bakeries owned by real (and presumed) Kosovo Albanians in Serbia and the postponement of the visit of Albanian Prime Minister to Belgrade have created a misleading hype about Serb-Albanian relations.

Numerous media reports and a recent study by IFIMES, based in Ljubljana, which received considerable media attention often note how many decades no Albanian head of state has visited Belgrade (of course Edi Rama is...

Is Bosnia a Functioning State?

The Dayton Peace Agreement was a wonder for regional security in Europe. It put an end to the most dangerous post-Yugoslav war, and prevented further spreading of armed violence. It has been almost a full nineteen years since its signing, and there has been no serious challenge to either national or regional security in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Architects of the agreement did a brilliant job of institutionally preventing any possibilities of the rearming and organizing of any military or security forces by any of the constituent ethnic groups. The impotence of the state apparatus was shown in...

Mogherini and the Future of Rapprochement between Serbia and Kosovo: The EU’s New Role and How It Should Play Out

The implementation of the first Brussels Agreement (reached in April 2013) has considerably slowed down. Thusly, this questions the very purpose of the deal, whose aim has been to set relations between Serbia and Kosovo on a track towards normalization. The former EU Higher Representative, Lady Catherine Ashton, has brought together the prime ministers of the two countries almost two-dozen times, but this has hardly improved overall relations. The EU mediators have consciously used ambiguity to create a modicum of cooperation, and this momentum has certainly had a positive effect. An...

Bosnia is no model for Ukrainian peace

An unfortunate narrative has captured the discourse on the crisis in Ukraine, as political solutions to end the conflict and Russian incursion are sought. Many commentators have ruminated that a ‘Dayton-style solution’ or the ‘Bosnian model’ be implemented in Ukraine as a means to end the violence and embrace decentralized, regional based federalism where Kiev could not impose their will on the ethnic Russians in the east, while maintaining a still ostensibly unified Ukrainian state.

On paper, a Dayton-style...

More than a game? Again? On the seemingly perpetual football-related violence in the Balkans

Over the past twenty-five years academic scholarship, as well as journalistic accounts of varying degrees of quality, have focused on Balkan football fan cultures almost exclusively in terms of their violent, homophobic and nationalist behavior, their involvement in paramilitary formations that committed war-crimes during the Yugoslav Wars and their interconnection with various...

Elections in Bosnia—Business as usual?

The Bosnian elections last Sunday brought change, but it seems unlikely that they will make a difference. There is no clear heading under which the election results can be summarized. The return of nationalist does it little justice. First, the Party of Democratic Action, the main national Bosniak party, won a clear victory in the Federation, becoming the largest party in every single canton with a Bosniak majority. In all Croat dominated cantons, HDZ became the largest party. In addition, both parties won the respective seats in the Bosnian presidency. However, this result is less a...

Bosnia-Herzegovina Post-Election Review: Fleeting Victories Abound

A complete analysis of the BiH elections will only be possible once the full results of the polls are known in the coming days. Nevertheless, it is possible at this juncture to offer some preliminary thoughts which can guide our observations of the events to come.

To begin with, with a marginally worse figure than in 2010, turnout continues to be a major problem in BiH elections. The reasons for this are multifaceted, as a recent study concluded, but are certainly in large part...

Media freedom in Serbia criticized in the EU Progress Report

The European Commission has published its annual Progress Report on Serbia today. As expected, the newest report has praised the countries’ efforts on the implementation of the agreement on normalization of relations with Kosovo, and the overall advancement in European integrations manifested in the official opening of the accession negotiations. The ruling parties in Serbia immediately did their best to...

Surviving the Belgrade Pride Parade

Last weekend Serbia’s LGBTI community appeared in public space, manifesting its existence and, more importantly, gentleness. Just to recapitulate, the attempt to stage the first parade in Serbia in 2001 was a disaster, dominated by a bloody confrontation between the police force and counter-protesters (supported by the Serbian Orthodox Church), with numerous participants seriously injured. Later (and a year after the cancellation of the 2009 pride gathering), Serbia once again left an impression of a place incapable of tolerating...

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