Bosnia-Herzegovina

RS Referendum - The Emperor has no clothes, but don’t blame it on the Court or Bosniaks

The influential British journalist Marcus Tanner argued that the Bosnian Constitutional Court should have never decided on such deeply controversial issue as the RS National Holiday: “It is hard to see what business judges have in ruling on whether people should celebrate January 9th, 10th, 11th, or any other day.  Marika Djolai joined Tanner, on the lines of this blog, in blaming...

The Republic Srpska Referendum and the Bleak Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina

20 years after the end of the war in 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is still marred by lack of political progress and stuck in the situation of stabile unresolvedness. Recurrent political crises are a sad reality, whith political leaders of the two entities and three nationalist parties continuously pushing to establish sovereignty of their geographic or imagined territories in the hope that this will secure them a permanent ruling position. Quite often, they create turmoil to avert attention from more pressing social and economic problems resulting in challenging living conditions,...

The untold story behind Bosnia’s EU membership application

More than seven years ago, Bosnia’s neighbors, Montenegro and Serbia, applied for EU membership. Since then, Bosnian politicians have openly considered doing the same on several occasions: first in 2009, and then again in 2010 and 2012. But they never went through with it – until 15 February 2016, when Bosnia finally submitted its...

The RS Referendum in Judges’ Hands

Schach Matt to Dayton. An attempt to destabilize Bosnia. A political adventure with an unknown outcome. These thoughts sum up what the West and the RS opposition think of Dodik’s initiative to call a referendum on the powers of the High Representative and the BiH Court. 

While the confrontation between Dodik (...

Bosnia-Herzegovina after EU association. Four challenges ahead

On March 16, 2015 the foreign ministers of the 28 EU member states gave the green light for the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the European Union (EU) to enter into force. The SAA is a treaty with a complex story. Back in 2005 its signature quickly became burdened by OHR-mandated conditionality on police reform, which the EU finally put aside after accepting cosmetic changes in 2008. However, after a three year ratification process, the agreement had to be frozen before it could enter into force because in 2009 Bosnia was found in...

The end of conditionality in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

At their monthly meeting in Brussels on March 16, the European Union’s foreign ministers are expected to decide that a pre-accession agreement with Bosnia-Herzegovina should take effect. With the stroke of a pen, the foreign ministers will discard the notion that EU conditionality might be used to propel constitutional reform in Bosnia, reversing a policy that has been in force for many years.

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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...

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...

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...

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...

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