State Building and International Intervention in Bosnia: After Dayton (Security and Governance)

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In addition, the idea that EU conditionality will work in Bosnia and solve its post-war political, economic and legal problems seems to result in complete disappointment as seen so far. In that regard, Sebastian points out that the EU jeopardized and failed to link the power and incentives inherent in its accession conditionality to the constitutional reform process in Bosnia It is also puzzling that although the EU has intensified its activities in Bosnia there have not been significant positive reforms regarding the EU reforms in the country.

During the Yugoslav wars in the early s the EU had played very weak and incoherent role due to a serious lack of commitment and political will of its member states to pool more sovereignty in order to build stronger and more coherent security and defence policy at the European level. There has been an understanding that instability and possible conflicts in the region pose direct and serious threat to the EU.

As a response, the EU developed more pro-active and comprehensive security and defence policy at the European level. On the other hand, the US changed its diplomatic and military priorities and deployed most of its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the so-called Brussels era has not passed without challenges. Thus, by formulating specific democracy-relevant conditions and identifying areas where democratic reforms were required, the EU initiatives became the main driving force behind democratisation in the Western Balkans and Bosnia as well.

The EU thereby became the main actor of external democracy promotion in the region, with overlapping processes of europeanisation and democratisation Although the Union developed new institutional relations with the regional countries through newly initiated SAA, it has faced a lot of challenges, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Insiders: Foreign influence taking over Bosnia and Herzegovina?

In fact, Bassuener and Lyon in this light claim that not only did the SAA not generate momentum, but Republika Srpska RS is busy unravelling some of the hard-won gains of the previous 13 years, including reforms required by the EU as preconditions for signing the SAA Thus, the EU foreign minister Lady Ashton has only recently demanded that her new Bosnian envoy, part of her newly created diplomatic service, be given new powers by the Council of EU foreign ministers to impose travel bans and asset freezes on obstructionist Bosnian politicians Even the EU financial aid directed at the country has not been enough motor force that would motivate domestic politicians to implement necessary measures that Brussels had set beforehand.

Thus, the European Commission has allocated million Euro of support to BiH in its transition from a potential candidate country to a candidate country for the period under the IPA. BiH as a potential candidate is currently eligible for assistance to transition and institution building and cross-border cooperation. However, the EU has in some instances cut its financial assistance to BiH due to slow reform process. Thus, the EU has clearly demonstrated that very often it has been insensitive regarding the complexities and troubles of social and political context of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As the Commission stresses, the mandate of the EUSR is to promote overall political coordination and offer the EU advice and facilitation to BiH to help the country meet necessary requirements for the EU membership These include, in particular, helping achieve progress in implementing the Dayton Peace Agreement as well as in the Stabilisation and Association Process Thus, the EUSR has been of crucial importance to put pressure on domestic political leaders to continue with the EU-related reform process. As BiH political elites could not make compromise on the necessary reforms, the EUSR imposed the reforms on them and thus solved the deadlock.

However, such an imposition was clearly a forced europeanizing reform. BiH future in the EU is thus highly uncertain and even problematic because of the underdeveloped domestic policy-making structures and serious marginalization of both political representatives and ordinary citizens from open democratic deliberation.

Thus, the EU is implicitly paralyzing active involvement in policy-making and political responsibility of the Bosnian politicians. It would not be far from truth to say that Lajcak did not have clear-cut message of support from Brussels which would help him to do his job effectively. Probably the best demonstration and proof to this fact has been diverse views and opinions of the EU officials regarding the future design and content of the Bosnian constitutional framework.

Postsocialist, post-conflict, postcolonial?

In fact, the Bosnian authorities are expected to implement the European democratic values and effective bureaucratic standards that are based on the Copenhagen and Madrid criteria, respectively. However, although the Copenhagen and Madrid criteria propose what are the standards and measures that have to be implemented by the Bosnian politicians, the EU member states have not demonstrated a common and principled position on the necessary constitutional changes. Thus, while EU officials have been vocal in their demands and calls for constitutional change, they have not been clear enough and committed about the specific requirements expected As a result, the EU member states are as divided as the local politicians are over the design and shape of the future Bosnian constitution.

This has resulted in a huge EU credibility crisis in Bosnia. In this respect, Cohen argues that if the EU does not clearly support the progress that has already been made in the europeanization of the Western Balkan countries the European Union would surely pay a very high price Thus, this has been a sort of informal requirement that the EU officials expect from the Bosnian political representatives to implement reforms in order to speed up the whole European integration process.

However, there have been a number of European leaders who do not support the idea that Bosnia needs a new or modified constitution in order to enter the EU family. Of course, if there is an agreement between the three sides on some arrangements or solutions, I would not be against it. Better tosay, the EU authorities have perceived the constitutional reform as an informal conditionality without clearly stating rewards or punishments for BiH politicians. That happened to a large degree due to diverse national interests of the EU member states on foreign policy questions and due to vagueness of the Copenhagen and Madrid criteria that are open to political manipulation.

Better to say, since the EU has not stressed clearly the measures required, the Copenhagen and Madrid criteria can be understood in thousands of different ways as is the case with the Bosnian elites. As a result, Bosnian Muslims want to enter Brussels as a country with strong and powerful central state. Bosnian Croats are in support of highly decentralized country. Bosnian Serb leaders see Bosnia in the EU as a weak central state with strong entities. Put differently, Bosnia and Herzegovina with its long history of international protectorate, inter-ethnic conflicts, shifting borders and a recent brutal war, is not as other countries The RS does not have a cantonal level, it only has municipalities.

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Overall, the DPA has succeeded in keeping BiH as an independent and sovereign country with a joint multi ethnic government. Thus, the current political system in Bosnia is a product and result of the Dayton Agreement. Also, one of the most important goals of the DPA, restoration of security and physical infrastructure, has been satisfactorily met. However, the broader objective of organizing a multi-ethnic, democratic, and economically self-sustaining country is still a long way away And this happened when the EU authorities decided to take decisive and concrete diplomatic lead in fixing Dayton and thus paving the way for a new era of functional, self-sustaining and democratic BiH.

However, it ended in complete failure. Bosnian Serb representatives rejected the proposed reforms as too drastic while Bosniak and Croat leaders described them as insufficient to solve the long-standing political stalemate.


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The EU does not know how to behave like a global player when it comes to the Bosnian case. This was a clear threat to democratic deliberation that EU diplomats claim to be an important European value. Furthermore, the Butmir meeting has not even mentioned the controversial principle of entity voting, a voting principle in the constitution of BiH, which is supposed to protect the interests of all three ethnic groups in the country.

Additionally, the EU is equally responsible for the current status quo since its member states are not united in terms of proposed standards and measures expected from Bosnian government. They expect the Bosnian political elites to make required changes including the question of a constitution that might satisfy all three ethnic communities. Yet, this is too a simplistic and unidimensional view with regard to complicated Bosnian political and social context.

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Although the Copenhagen and Madrid criteria propose what are the standards, values and norms that have to be implemented in the EU aspirants, the EU states have not sent clear messages regarding their expectations from the Bosnian political elites. As a result, BiH political elites effectively manipulate with reluctance opinions coming from the EU states.

Thus, leaving Bosnians to explore the options that befall a failed state — located within Europe but on the margins of its prosperity and unity — is to simply acknowledge a bankruptcy policy Furthermore, as a fundamental agreement, the SAA, has not generated expected reform processes and thus it should indeed be re-examined in order to make it closer to real needs of BiH. No doubt the EU leaders are often making the same mistake of ignoring the real problems of Bosnian state because they believe that mere process of European integration will make the country more democratic, stable and functional.

Thus, the EU officials could make the same mistake from early s since BiH ethnic leaders would manipulate with their reluctance and ignorance. Bedrudin Brljavac received his B. European Integration vs.

State Building and International Intervention in Bosnia: After Dayton (Security and Governance)

Europeanization as a Theoretical Perspective. European Union States Divided in Bosnia. Failure of the Initiative for Dayton II. Effects of EU Conditionality Agrandir Original png, 9,4k. Ownership Process and European Integration Haut de page. Suivez-nous Flux RSS. Feasibility Study. Your list has reached the maximum number of items. Please create a new list with a new name; move some items to a new or existing list; or delete some items. Your request to send this item has been completed. Citations are based on reference standards.

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