Security Council (UN) - Dayton Revisited
Foreign Affairs Council (EU) - Preventive Diplomacy in the Balkans
Ministerial Council (OSCE) - Managing the Human Dimension in Bosnia and Herzegovina
We live in an era of violence in the Middle East and North Africa, where religious, ethnic and separatist conflicts are tearing countries apart. The news is marked by reports of revengeful air strikes, increasing casualties, influxes of refugees and destruction of cultural heritage daily. World leaders and organisations have been forced to react. But what if all this were to occur in closer proximity to the “sacred” Western world and thus make the deriving consequences much more devastating? Would that make their decisions any different?
AN IMPERFECT PEACE: THE STORY OF EUROPEAN JERUSALEM
Twenty years ago, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was one of the most violent conflicts in modern European history. Europe witnessed warfare that had not been seen since the end of the World War II. Monday, 15 February 2016 saw the same country submit its application for European Union (EU) membership.
This act was received as good news, despite the fact the Copenhagen criteria had not been fully fulfilled. BiH still faced challenging times. After billions of dollars in foreign aid, intrusive international administration, and despite a supportive European neighbourhood, the country slowly spiralled toward disintegration. The communities’ conflicting goals and interests are a permanent source of crisis, exacerbated by a constitution that meets no group’s needs.
The country was therefore deadlocked and remained at a standstill in the European integration process. The Bosnian political system, which represented an example of consociationalism , caused that there was no middle way to address the reforms necessary for progress on the EU path. There has been no tangible progress in establishing functional and sustainable institutions, while the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH has also made very limited progress in adopting EU-related legislation. Disagreements along political and ethnic lines have had a major negative effect on the work of the assemblies at the state level and in the Federation. Political leaders were thus unable to cooperate and come to an agreement to adopt reforms which would lead the country towards stability and, most importantly, towards economic independence and the creation of a single economic space within the country. Some measures to improve public finance sustainability have been adopted by both Entities but the quality of public finances remains low and fiscal discipline and expenditure control have to be strengthened.
Previous repeated Western efforts to update the country's post-war constitution have failed. Because of the obstacles to find a middle way to start addressing the issues concerning the accession, EU urged BiH to reconstruct the country politically. The proposition for the unification of the country came from the civil society in Sarajevo. The protests started in Sarajevo and spread throughout the Bosnian enclave. The Bosnian Serbs, reluctant to begin the process of the unification of Bosnia, made a strike back. The Balkans are back at war.
All eyes shift to this region. The establishment of peace, dealing with the undesired consequences of refugees, food shortages, a lack of basic services and the spillover of violence into neighbouring countries, this time rests in the hands of three main actors: the EU, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations (UN).
European Commission. 2014. Bosnia and Herzegovina Progress Report. Available at: (11. March 2016).
--- 2016. Bosnia and Herzegovina Progress Report. Available at: enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2014/20141008-bosnia-and-herzegovina-progress-report_en.pdf (13. March 2016).
Geopolitica 2016. Why is Bosnia important to Russia? Available at: http://www.geopolitica. ru/en/article/why-bosnia-important-russia#.VuWvU4Qundc (13. March 2016).
Saurugger, Sabine. 2016. Consociationalism. In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Available at: (11. March 2016).
Theatlantic. 2016. Bosnia’s Lesson: When American Intervention Works (Partly). Available at: (13. March 2016).
Consociationalism is often viewed as synonymous with power-sharing, although it is technically only one form of power-sharing. The goals of consociationalism are governmental stability, the survival of the power-sharing arrangements, the survival of democracy, and the avoidance of violence.