This page was archived on October 2020.


Western Balkans

28 - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Grade: C
Unity 3/5
Resources 3/5
Outcome 2/10
Total 8/20
Scorecard 2012: C (8/20)
Scorecard 2013: C (8/20)
Scorecard 2014: C (8/20)

Bosnia faced widespread protest and a faltering economy. EU states launched a number of initiatives to reverse the country’s downward trend.

Bosnia continued to be plagued by institutional paralysis and economic stagnation. Simmering frustrations with the system, lack of good governance, and socio-economic grievances provided the trigger for popular protests and episodes of violence in February, followed by the establishment of popular assemblies. Though initially seen as a potential catalyst for change, in the wake of the 2013 “Baby Revolution”, the “Bosnian Spring” eventually fizzled out and elections in October returned the same corrupt parties to power.

Overall, Europeans continued to struggle to realise their objectives in Bosnia. The EU recognised Bosnia’s European “standstill” and called off its facilitation efforts with Bosnian leaders to reach agreement on the constitutional reform required by the European Court of Human Rights’ Sejdic-Finci ruling. Instead, Europe tried to tailor its policies to the challenges at play. One such challenge was Moscow’s support for Republika Srpska’s Milorad Dodik, who toyed with a Crimea-style independence declaration. Bosnia’s stance on the Ukraine crisis and EU sanctions against Russia, like Serbia’s, was ambiguous.

The EU renewed its emphasis on the socio-economic situation, including through the EU Compact for Growth and Jobs, a socio-economic reform programme launched under the aegis of the EU Special Representative in Bosnia and international partners such as the IMF. Efforts were also made to support the political process. Austria launched a civil society initiative and is taking over from Germany in preparing a second Balkans conference. The Czech Republic was among states hosting discussions on Sejdic-Finci. Crucially, in November, the German and British foreign ministers, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Philip Hammond, launched an initiative to revitalise Bosnia’s European path and end the deadlock, through a “resequencing” of EU conditionality (delaying implementation of Sejdic-Finci as a precondition for entry into force of the 2008 Stabilisation and Association Agreement), in return for a commitment to reform. EU ministers endorsed this refocusing of EU policy in December, though with emphasis on conditionality and Sejdic-Finci’s implementation. Nevertheless, widespread scepticism persists about the initiative’s viability and about European unity on Bosnia.