Experts: Bosnia’s political crisis sends bad signal to EU

NEWS 06.09.2019 21:40
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Source: N1

Bosnia’s political leaders are unwilling to reach compromises, and the fact that the country still has not formed a government nearly a year after the October 2018 election sends a bad signal to the European Union, analysts told N1 on Friday.

Political leaders have not fully grasped the moment Bosnia is in currently, said political analyst Adnan Huskic, explaining that they still act without reaching compromises on any political issue.

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“That is the continuation of the policy we have been witnessing since the end of the war,” he said.

The reason why the country lacks a new government – officially called the Council of Ministers – is that the Bosniak and Croat members of the tripartite Presidency refuse to vote for the new prime minister.

The new head of government is supposed to come from the main Bosnian Serb party which opposes the country’s path toward NATO membership and announced he would not allow the next step in this direction to be made.

The next step would be sending the Annual National Programme (ANP) to the alliance and the Bosniak and Croat Presidency members insist on it.

Bosnian Serb leadership previously agreed to Bosnia’s NATO membership and even the now ruling Bosnian Serb party – the SNSD – signed off on the country fulfilling its obligations, including sending the ANP to Brussels.

Now, the same party vehemently opposes any activities that may bring the country closer to NATO.

The leaders of the three parties which won the election signed an agreement containing principles for forming the government in an effort to overcome the stalemate, but the main issue, whether Bosnia will send the ANP, was never clarified.

For the past month, the leaders of the main Bosniak and Serb political parties gave completely different interpretations on what the document they signed says about the ANP.

The deadline stated in the agreement to form the government expired on Thursday, and no progress was made.

Huskic said that for a while it seemed like Bosnia may have been progressing because the international community was pushing it forward, but now everything is stagnating.

He called the agreement the political leaders signed “hopeless.”

“I didn’t hope for anything good to arise from that Agreement which was put together in that way, which not only contains completely contradictory statements regarding one of its points but also within the same sentence,” he said.

“There we also have the standard set of issues named in order to satisfy the international patrons, which are the fight against corruption and so on. I would say that this is only a declaration of a set of wishes,” he said.

Huskic predicted that the political leaders will reach an agreement which will unblock the situation but said that “unfortunately, the communication between political figures without someone who would mediate does not exist.”

“There is also no united stance within the international community,” he said, adding that the situation has caused damage, especially with the EU now considering whether further expansion is necessary.

According to Austrian Professor of political science Florian Bieber, “the problem lies in the unwillingness of the political elite to reach a compromise and not in the institutions.”

Source : N1

Bieber said that Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, one of the signatories of the agreement, has an interest in the state not functioning.

Dodik is not the only one responsible for the current situation, but he is the one most responsible, Bieber said.

“All of this can be solved with some short-term compromise, but the essential problem is that there is no long-term solution,” he said.

Bieber said that the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, is trying to help resolve the situation, but that his competencies are limited.

“We can see that Dodik enjoys threatening and that he is trying to destroy the joint institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina at all costs, he is doing that for 10 years already,” Bieber said, expressing hope that the EU will send a signal that this kind of behaviour is “completely unacceptable.”

Bosnia’s system makes it easy for everyone to shift the responsibility on others, he said. “In the end, all those who carry the responsibility enjoy a situation where others can be blamed and they are unprepared for a compromise.”

Bieber also said that one can hardly expect from the international community a unified stance on Bosnia nor a kind of new policy which could bring changes in the country.