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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

All you should know about Bosnia and the obstacles on the way to EU in a short article - 0 views

  • The Dayton peace agreement ended the war in Bosnia 15 years ago by effectively dividing the former Yugoslav republic along ethnic lines, but today that accord is an obstacle to the country’s development and European integration. The deal, brokered by the United States and accepted by Serbian, Croat and Bosnian leaders November 21, 1995, created a state with weak central authority and powerful, nearly sovereign ethnic entities.
  • It was about that time, in 2000, that Bosnia outgrew the Dayton peace agreement. The compromises aimed at preventing any side from gaining the upper hand led to the country’s political paralysis. With all the power concentrated in ethnic communities, fiery nationalist rhetoric remains a much safer bet for politicians than declaring a willingness to negotiate and compromise.
  • “Bosnia’s key problem is a vision of its future shared by political leaders,” an EU enlargement official, Dimitris Kourkoulas, said recently in Sarajevo. Until Bosnia finds a way to move forward, its Muslims, Serbs and Croats will remain stuck halfway between Dayton and Brussels, between the fatigued EU and their own bickering leaders.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.11.10: EU enlargement reports reveal mixed progress for Balkan states - 0 views

  • The European Commission's latest progress reports on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Macedonia have revealed wide variation between these neighbouring Balkan states and mixed progress towards EU accession requirements.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Poor governance
  • The governance of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is one of the most complex problems facing the Balkan region, according to the European Commission's latest progress report on the country.
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  • Croatia: Praise for anti-corruption and competition policy Compared to its hefty critique of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the commission's assessment of Croatia is much more encouraging. The country made "steady progress" towards meeting the remaining criteria needed to conclude the accession talks that began five years ago. However, the commission does not give a target date for accession.
  • Kosovo: Weak judiciary and lack of media freedom Kosovo is reported to have made progress on meeting political criteria and decentralisation has improved. Even though there has been some progress towards eliminating corruption and organised crime, Kosovo continues to suffer from these problems. The commission has mainly expressed disappointment about the state of Kosovo's judicial system and the lack of media freedom – the judiciary remains weak and the appointment of judges is politically influenced.
  • Macedonia: Unsteady progress and paralysed by naming row Macedonia fulfils the political criteria for EU membership but has made "uneven" progress with reforms during the last year, the commission report on the country concludes. In 2009, Macedonia had been praised for its reforms, prompting Brussels to recommend the start of accession talks with the EU. Negotiations were then blocked by Greece because of the unresolved name dispute between the two countries. This year, the commission is more critical but does not revoke last year's opinion on the start of accession talks.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

04.11.10: A first look at the European Commission progress reports on enlargement due t... - 0 views

  • "The EU's enlargement process has gained new momentum since the [European] Commission adopted its last progress reports, notwithstanding the many other challenges the Union faces." These are the opening words of the European Commission's Enlargement Strategy, which will be officially presented next Wednesday (10 November) together with the progress reports for the Western Balkan counties, Turkey and Iceland. WAZ.EUobserver has seen the report in advance.
  • "All need to focus on good governance, improving the rule of law, speeding up economic reform and improving their capacity to adopt and implement the acquis. Several complex problems remain, including the governance of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the name question concerning the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Open bilateral issues remain and differences over Kosovo's status have held up regional co-operation," the strategy underlines.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.11.10: Albania and Bosnia to get visa-free travel before Christmas - 0 views

  • EU interior ministers are on Monday (8 November) expected to lift visa requirements for Albanian and Bosnian citizens despite limited progress in terms of democracy, the fight against organised crime and corruption in the two countries.
  • To Bosnians and Albanians, the news is sweet after they were left behind last year when Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro got on the visa-free list. Kosovo, on the other hand, has little prospect of catching up as it is not even recognised by all EU member states. On the EU side, some capitals are unhappy about the developments. The Netherlands is opposing the move, saying there has been too little progress in terms of democratisation, organised crime and corruption in Albania and Bosnia and pointing to the political chaos in both countries. France is also reluctant, fearing a massive influx of migrants. The EU commission has given reassurances that Tirana and Sarajevo will make it clear that visa-free travel is not a ticket to asylum or residence in the EU after problems with Macedonian asylum seekers last year. But even if France or the Netherlands votes No or abstain on Monday, the decision will be adopted by qualified majority. The commission itself shares Dutch concerns. In the 2010 accession progress reports on the two countries, to be published on Tuesday and seen by EUobserver, neither Albania nor Bosnia win much praise. "Bosnia and Herzegovina has made limited progress in addressing key reforms. Incompatibilities between the Bosnian constitution and the EU convention on human rights were not removed, despite the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights," the document says. It also criticises Bosnia for lacking "a shared vision by the leaders on the overall direction of the country and on key EU-related reforms." On Albania, it says the political stalemate after 2009 elections is the biggest obstacle to progress. It adds that Albania has made too little headway to be granted the status of EU candidate country, for which it applied in 2009. "Activities of organised crime groups in Albania, having impact outside of the country, remain an issue of serious concern. Further strenghtening of co-operation at the international level is necessary, including in particular with neighbouring countries," it says.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.10.10: Rethinking needed after Bosnian elections - 0 views

  • In my earlier article - Bosnia on the road to the EU, sorry to Dissolution - I described a bit the background and made some small forecast about outcome which seems to be not so far away from reality. Now elections are held and most votes counted. Turnout in the vote — the sixth general elections in Bosnia since the end of the 1992-95 war - was some 56 percent, the highest since 2002 (in 2006 the turnout was 55.3 percent).The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has assessed that the elections were generally in line with international standards for democratic elections, although certain areas, including ethnicity and residence-based limitations to active and passive suffrage rights, require further action.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

AriRusila's BalkanPerspective » Blog Archive » Bosnia on the road to the EU, ... - 0 views

  • Despite international community’s state building efforts in Bosnia the country is splitting parts Since war 15 years ago foreign aid has exceed USD 80 bn for artificial creature designed in Dayton agreement aiming multi-ethnic state with EU perspective. As a result Bosnia is now even more divided, with less national identity, 20 percent of population living under the poverty line, with a nightmare triple administration plus international supervising making the country as worst place in Europe to do business west of Ukraine, even as it seeks to join the European Union. (Bosnia this year ranked 116th in World Bank’s ease of doing business index.)
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

German FM: Bosnia 'Must Focus on Reform' for EU - 0 views

  • German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said Bosnia would had a clear European Union membership perspective - if its ethnic leaders could stop arguing and focus on reforming the country’s constitution. “Bosnia and Herzegovina has a clear European perspective, but the road to Europe leads through internal dialogue and the unity of the country,” Westerwelle told journalists after meeting top Bosnian officials in Sarajevo, on the third leg of his three-day tour of the Balkans. Westerwelle said Germany expected all political actors in Bosnia to “start working on constitutional reform with courage, energy and good will” immediately after October 3 general elections in the country.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.06.10 Belgium to take merit-based approach to EU enlargement - 0 views

  • Although Belgium is among the most cautious in the European Union when it comes to enlargement, there is a good chance that its forthcoming EU Presidency will be particularly productive in this policy area. At their presentation of the upcoming Belgian presidency's priorities last Friday, Yves Leterme, Belgium's caretaker prime minister and its foreign minister, Steven Vanackere, sounded much like their colleagues from the Netherlands - and not just because they spoke Dutch. The Belgian approach to enlargement is similar to the stance in the Hague: no promises, no dates, just "strict and fair" rules.
  • The next six months could mark important progress for the Western Balkan countries despite Belgium's cautious line. Croatia could close all but one of the negotiation chapters. Macedonia is close to getting a date for the opening of accession negotiations with the EU. Montenegro can count on a positive "avis" (opinion) from the European Commission for its candidate status. The Serbian application could be forwarded to the EU commission for an opinion on Serbia's readiness to become a candidate as well. Kosovo might receive some kind of a roadmap for its Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania can hope for visa liberalisation before the end of the year. Croatia is well-placed to close all its negotiation chapters, with the exception of the famous No. 23 on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, which will remain to be concluded during the Hungarian Presidency in the first half of 2011. Still, problems could emerge with othe chapters, for example competition. Macedonia is close to finding a win-win solution to its name dispute with Greece. Talking to WAZ.EUobserver, EU diplomats in Brussels expressed cautious optimism that the name problem could be solved in the next months. This would allow the EU finally to set the date that Skopje has been waiting for since 2005 - for formal negotiations to start on Macedonia's entry into the EU.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.05.10: EU debt crisis must not hurt Balkan entry hopes: Serbia - 0 views

  • Serbia's president on Saturday warned the financial crisis gripping Europe must not be allowed to derail the Balkans' hopes of joining the European Union, ahead of a crunch summit with the bloc."The policy of the European Union's enlargement must not be interrupted at any price," President Boris Tadic told a conference of regional leaders, held in Sarajevo ahead of a vital EU-Balkans summit on June 2.
  • Tadic was meeting with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic and their colleagues from the Bosnian tripartite presidency, namely Muslim leader Haris Silajdzic.Officials and media across the Balkans have expressed concern that the ongoing debt crisis could slow down the enlargement process, with new members perceived as a potential threat to the bloc's financial stability.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.05.10: Bosnia tensions grow ahead of Balkan summit | EurActiv - 0 views

  • Officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina have traded accusations with representatives of the international community, who have been helping to manage the country since the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. The development came just days ahead of a Western Balkans summit in Sarajevo on 2 June, intended to reaffirm the region's EU membership prospects.
  • Bosnian Prime Minister Nikola Spiric has written to the UN accusing the international community's envoy of destabilising his country, the local press reported on 23 May.Spiric urged United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to remove the international community's high representative in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, who has the power to pass laws and sack officials in the country's two semi-autonomous entities, AFP reported."Continuing foreign intervention in local political issues is destabilising and undermines the creation of a consensus [...] as well as reform efforts," the Bosnian Serb leader is quoted as saying.The Office of the High Representative (OHR) "should be closed in order to enable Bosnian political leaders to achieve legitimate progress," he said, saying that Inzko, an Austian diplomat, was "contributing to non-functional governance in Bosnia".In return, Inzko blamed leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina for what he called a "deterioration" of political dialogue.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

07.05.10: Expert: In Bosnia every reform fails due to corruption - 0 views

  • The EU should not give up on Bosnia and Herzegovina despite its ongoing internal divisions, yet the country must improve its legal system as governmental reforms simply fail as a result of corruption, Jan Havránek, an expert on security issues and a research fellow at the Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI), told EurActiv Czech Republic in an interview.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.04.10: Croatia apologises for Bosnian war crimes | EurActiv - 0 views

  • Addressing the national parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina during an official visit to Sarajevo on Wednesday (15 April), the Croatian president extended condolences and sympathy to every victim of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), emphasising that every life lost was a loss for everybody.He said he would travel to Ahmici and Krizancevo Selo in the Lasva Valley on Thursday to pay his respects to victims "whose only sin was that they belonged to the other side and were different".
  • He added that a new era had come in which the mistakes from the past times should be recognised and a new course should be set bringing lasting peace, stability and prosperity to the region.Josipovic said a common European future is the best solution, adding that he was confident his country would soon become a European Union member. He underlined Croatia's support for its neighbours' EU membership bid."The European Bosnia-Herzegovina is a vital national interest of Croatia," Josipovic said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

14.03.10: European Integration And The Need For Reform In Bosnia - 0 views

  • Commentary about the Bosnia-Herzegovina is today dominated either by a focus on crises, which talks up the risk of violence, or an obsession with the EU enlargement process, which exaggerates the EU’s leverage in the region.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Dzihic (2010): Ethnopolitik in Bosnien-Herzegowina: Staat und Gesellschaft in der Krise - 0 views

  • Dieses Buch liefert erstmalig im deutschsprachigen Raum eine systematische und aktuelle Grundsatzanalyse aller relevanten Entwicklungen in Bosnien-Herzegowina seit Dayton bis 2009. Es zeigt systematisch die "Fallen" von Dayton auf, nennt die Gründe für die anhaltende Ethnopolitik, liefert eine überzeugende Erklärung für die Schwächen der internationalen Gemeinschaft bei der Demokratisierung Bosniens und seziert jene Faktoren, die den Europäisierungsprozess behindern.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

28.02.10: BiH to apply for EU membership by end of year - 0 views

  • 28/02/2010BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj said on Friday (February 26th) that his country will submit its EU membership application by the end of this year. The statement came after a meeting with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele in Brussels. Alkalaj said BiH cannot afford any further delays on the road to the EU. "We would like to submit our application for candidate status by the end of this year because this would allow us to continue reforms. We cannot waste any more time," Alkalaj said. Fuele stated that the EU wants BiH to be a stable country with a clear European perspective, but pointed to some obstacles. He urged consensus among BiH politicians and made particular point of necessary amendments to the country's constitution. (Dnevni Avaz, Radio Slobodna Evropa, SRNA - 26/02/10)
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.02.10: Ashton tackles Serb tensions on maiden voyage to Balkans - 0 views

  • EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton took aim at Serbian nationalist tensions in the western Balkans in a speech on her first trip to the region. Addressing the threat of secession by the ethnic Serb enclave in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, which threatens to undo the country's 1995 peace deal, she said: "Bosnia and Herzegovina can only join the European Union as one country ...Politics of division and flirtations with secessionist rhetoric are as harmful as they are pointless. The EU will never accept the break-up of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.10.09: EU and US fail to break Bosnia deadlock - 0 views

  • A joint EU-US mediation effort aimed at ending years of political deadlock in Bosnia-Herzegovina ended on Wednesday (21 October) with no agreement on giving the central government a stronger role over the semi-independent Serbian and Muslim-Croat entities. The talks were spearheaded by Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, who used to be the first international high representative in Bosnia after the 1992-1995 war and is now chairing the EU presidency.
  • Despite wanting to see the office's powers downgraded, Mr Dodik strongly rejected the legislative package put forward by the EU-US mediators, saying it risked diluting the power of Republika Srpska. In the past years, he had repeatedly called for a referendum on separating from the Bosnian federation. As for the Bosniaks and Croats, they rejected the proposals for not going far enough in strengthening the state institutions. Under the 1995 Dayton peace accords, two separate entities were created - the Bosnian-Croat federation and Republika Srpska - linked by a common parliament, a three-member presidency and a council of ministers. However, the division of powers remains unclear, especially with the office of the international representative in place, and each side interprets it the way it suits best its own interests.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

20.10.09: Talks try to end Bosnian deadlock - 0 views

  • Leaders of Bosnia's divided communities are meeting to try to end years of political stalemate and reduce the danger of renewed conflict.European Union and United States representatives are mediating the talks in Sarajevo. The aim is to bring in constitutional reform and prepare Bosnia for eventual EU and NATO membership. But the Bosnian Serbs strongly oppose any moves that would jeopardise their desire for more autonomy.
  • The high representative in Bosnia is an international figure with considerable domestic power. The current incumbent, Valentin Inzko, has described the situation in the country as serious. "Bosnia is in a state of paralysis," he told the BBC. "Things are not moving at the moment. And I deeply regret all this nationalist rhetoric. It's not helpful, it's destructive and many, many wars have started with bad rhetoric. So we should really avoid it."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

14.10.09: EU gives green light for Macedonia accession talks - 0 views

  • EU commissioner Olli Rehn, in charge of enlargement, said the Macedonian government should see the move as "very strong encouragement" to "finally settle the name issue," however. The reference concerns an 18-year old dispute between Macedonia and neighbouring Greece about the use of the name Macedonia. Croatia, hoping to join the EU in 2011, is "nearing the finishing line" after years of negotiations, said Mr Rehn, but needs to further tackle corruption and organised crime "before negotiations can be concluded." The commission report urges Turkey to do more to ensure freedom of expression and freedom of religion as well as bolster the rights of women and trade unions. Ankara has been lagging far behind Zagreb in its EU progress in part due to poor relations with EU member Cyprus, with whom it still has to fully implement a customs agreement. Progress is also slow due to a lack of enthusiasm on the part of several member states for Turkish membership and the pace of Turkish domestic reform.
  • Of the remaining five entities - Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo - that want to join the EU, Mr Rehn had the most to say about Bosnia and Herzegovina. The war-torn country was recently given an ultimatum by the EU and the US to sort out internal problems between Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs by 20 October. Defining the country as of "paramount importance for the region and for the European Union," Mr Rehn said that Bosnia and Herzegovina could only consider an application for EU membership once it "can stand on its own two feet." "No quasi-protectorate can join the EU," he said, spelling out that the Office of High Representative would have to be closed down first. The post was created as part of the peace deal that ended the 1992-1995 war in the country, and can only be closed after a positive international assessment. Meanwhile, the Serbian government, which is being pushed to arrest two war crimes suspects from the 1990s, was praised for being "stable" and "demonstrating" a high degree of consensus on EU integration as a strategic priority." But even as the EU tries to bind all of the countries of the western Balkans and Turkey ever more closely through political and economic ties and the promise of eventual membership, there are continuous doubts about whether it has the political appetite to go through with another large round of expansion. Apart from Croatia, strongly supported by Germany and where EU membership is virtually assured, internal EU question marks remain over the rest.
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