Main challenges in the future of Western Balkans Integration to the EU – The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina Cover Image

Main challenges in the future of Western Balkans Integration to the EU – The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Main challenges in the future of Western Balkans Integration to the EU – The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Author(s): Nikola Lazinica
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Analytica
Keywords: Western Balkans; EU Enlargement; Conditionality; State building; European Union Special Representative

Summary/Abstract: This paper asks the question: is Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereafter, simply BiH) – an unfinished state? Is BiH functioning according to the European concept and is it possible to make progress towards the EU accession with the current system in place? There are many obstacles on the European path of BiH, and the main question is how to bridge the way from Dayton to Brussels. European prospective of an international semi-protectorate is hardly achievable without significant structural reforms that should be performed with larger involvement of domestic political factors than it has been done in the past. The international community should take a new approach when it comes to restructuring of BiH, because 16 years after the International Peace Agreement signed in Dayton in 1995 and Annex 4 (which is also the BiH Constitution) BiH still is not a state competent to enjoy the loyalty of its citizens. It seems that all stakeholders, international and domestic, agree on one thing – the only way for success is the European integration, but the question is how far the domestic political elites are willing to pursue this path. When we look at all Western Balkan (WB) countries, it seems that BiH is taking the smallest steps towards EU Integration. The pace of reforms is the slowest in the region - with the Croatian conclusion of the accession negotiations in June 2010, Montenegrin and Macedonian candidate statuses and very palpable Serbian progress towards the EU (even though Kosovo dispute settlement hinders Serbia’s accession). BiH on the other hand is facing the threat of remaining an isolated island. This paper will analyze the current state of affairs in BiH and consider possible steps that should be taken in the future towards EU accession, and in the first place towards getting an official EU candidate status.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 08
  • Page Range: 57-73
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: English