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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.10.08: Bosnia vote marks nationalist surge - 0 views

  • Local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina yesterday (5 October) confirmed deep ethnic divisions within the Balkan country, which is seen as a natural candidate for EU accession.
  • Serb, Muslim and Croat nationalists obtained high scores in the race for mayorships in the country's 149 municipalities following a campaign marked by nationalist rhetoric and lack of interest in the real problems faced by citizens. 
  • Links European Union European Commission: Bosnia and Herzegovina – Relations with the EU AFP: Nationalists lead in Bosnia’s local elections Reuters: Bosnians vote along ethnic lines in local polls Reuters: City voters boycott Bosnia’s local polls Huriyet, Turkey: Bosnians vote expected to seal hardliners Balkanisnsight, Serbia: Polls close in Bosnia’s local elections Voice of America: EU defence ministers agree to phase out peacekeeping mission in Bosnia Le Monde Diplomatique: Analysis: The black hole of Bosnia
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Søberg (2008): The Quest for Institutional Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina East European Politics & Societies 22 (4): 714 - 0 views

  • This version was published on November 1, 2008 East European Politics & Societies, Vol. 22, No. 4, 714-737 (2008) DOI: 10.1177/0888325408316527 The Quest for Institutional Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina Marius Søberg Norwegian University of Science and Technology This article investigates the quest for institutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. Reform does not take place in a vacuum and the successful reform of the Bosnian polity is dependent on public support. Public demands for reform are likely to be influenced by how the current institutions are believed to be functioning and by the public support for the current institutional set-up as such. Still, the demands for alterations by the political elites of the different national communities highlight a continuing lack of consensus. Although the Constitution allows for a revision, the political room for such changes is limited, and the challenge remains to provide adequate degree of autonomy of national groups without diminishing the quality of democracy. The need to differentiate between the protection of legitimate national and minority rights and unacceptable nationalist demands emerges as a challenge with no easy solution. Key Words: Bosnia and Herzegovina • institutions • public support • reform
    This version was published on November 1, 2008 East European Politics & Societies, Vol. 22, No. 4, 714-737 (2008) DOI: 10.1177/0888325408316527 ---------- This article investigates the quest for institutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. Reform does not take place in a vacuum and the successful reform of the Bosnian polity is dependent on public support. Public demands for reform are likely to be influenced by how the current institutions are believed to be functioning and by the public support for the current institutional set-up as such. Still, the demands for alterations by the political elites of the different national communities highlight a continuing lack of consensus. Although the Constitution allows for a revision, the political room for such changes is limited, and the challenge remains to provide adequate degree of autonomy of national groups without diminishing the quality of democracy. The need to differentiate between the protection of legitimate national and minority rights and unacceptable nationalist demands emerges as a challenge with no easy solution. Key Words: Bosnia and Herzegovina * institutions * public support * reform
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

European Commission - Enlargement - Newsletter - 0 views

  • In this issue Enlargement high on EU agenda for 2008 too Mixed reception for Albanian local elections Turkey's pension reform is "in the right direction" Strategy for civil society in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia EU support for upgrading Albania’s civil registration Helping Bosnia and Herzegovina in communications regulation Serbian wine sector gets EU assistance Discussions start in Vienna on Kosovo settlement proposal Cooperation in south east Europe border security Croatia in media freedom spotlight Student grant database for South-East Europe Positive prospects for Turkey and Western Balkans
  • In this issue > Croatia's progress measured at SAA Council Wallström visits Turkey for Women's Day EU awaits Serbia's new government Kosovo status discussions to move to New York Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain under surveillance Montenegro comes closer to EU EU assistance to Albanian justice system Improving policing of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Hopes of Cyprus breakthrough from a breach in a wall Rehn reminds the EU of its power to act EU foreign affairs ministers extend backing for ICTY "Boost EU commitment to Western Balkans", says paper Stability Pact successor takes shape EU Presidency comments on the ICJ Balkan genocide judgement
  • EU summit backs enlargement strategy European Union leaders gave their full backing to the enlargement strategy at their summit in Brussels on December 14. They looked forward to further rounds of accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia before the end of the year. They confirmed the EU's vital role in assuring stability in the Western Balkans, and agreed to send an ESDP mission to Kosovo. And they agreed precise terms for the reflection group on the long-term future of Europe. This final issue for 2007 of Enlargement News provides highlights from the European Council, as well an update on other key enlargement-related developments. In this issue Endorsement for the enlargement strategy EU willing to send mission to Kosovo Progress on Turkey's accession negotiations Western Balkans "belong in the EU" Serbia invited to make "rapid progress" to EU Croatia "on track" towards EU membership SAA initialled with Bosnia and Herzegovina Albania makes progress, but governance and rule of law require further efforts The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia must accelerate the pace of reform Montenegro entering "critical phase" Limited remit for Reflection Group EU allocates pre-accession assistance to candidate countries Rehn contrasts past and present of EU foreign and security policy Turkish Students win trip to EU
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  • In this issue Bright future for enlargement, says Rehn Presidency highlights enlargement in EP debate New political cooperation agreement with Serbia to be signed EU reaffirms commitments to Kosovo Focusing on local democracy in Croatia Prospects good for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia "No doomsday" for Bosnia and Herzegovina, says Rehn Montenegro signs up to EU research programme Further moves envisaged on Western Balkans visas Rehn underlines momentum in Turkey talks
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.09.08: EU must demonstrate leadership in Bosnia, Lajcak says - 0 views

  • The EU is expected to demonstrate "leadership" in assuring Bosnia and Herzegovina's transition to a viable state that could one day join the 27-member bloc, the international community's high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina said in Brussels on Tuesday (9 September).
  • Mr Lajcak said the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was currently stable, but stressed that the country is still facing numerous political challenges, the solving of which requires the EU to play a role. One strategic issue, he underlined, is constitutional reform in Bosnia. There is currently no united approach to such reform, not only domestically, but also within the international community. "The international community and the EU in particular needs to define what it expects from any agreement" on constitutional reform in Bosnia, he said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.10.08: Bosnia collapsing? - 0 views

  • Last week top level European politicians have awaken to reality concerning the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, namely that this artificial creature made by Dayton agreement is starting to collapse. This in spite of hundreds of millions of euros which e.g. EU has thrown away to build some kind of multi-ethnical ideal. (Summary of Dayton Agreement here)
  • On 22nd Oct. 2008 the former United States diplomat Richard Holbrooke and former High Representative in Bosnia Paddy Ashdown published an article urging European Union and US leaders to reinforce their engagement in Bosnia and halt a new crisis which threatens to bring the country to collapse.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

24.04.09: Bosnia believes in EU membership by 2015 - 0 views

  • Despite its many internal problems, Bosnia and Herzegovina could join the EU by 2015, the country's foreign minister has said, adding that he expects Nato accession to materialise even earlier. "For Bosnia and Herzegovina it will take at least four, five years to get there [achieve EU membership] …If it's not 2013-2014, maybe 2015," Bosnian foreign minister Sven Alkalaj told a group of journalists in Sarajevo on Thursday (23 April).
  • Bosnia's foreign minister remained optimistic, however, stressing that Sarajevo hopes to file its application for EU membership this autumn. "It will very much depend on us and when we are ready to join the EU. I think there won't be a reason for any further disturbances," Mr Alkalaj said. According to him, Bosnia's membership of Nato is even closer in time than that of the EU, as "the path to Nato is very much advanced."
  • Mr Alkalaj acknowledged Bosnia had serious difficulties advancing with its key constitutional reform, and added that this is unlikely to change before the next elections in the country in 2010. The reform is currently blocked by Republika Srpska insisting on keeping a high degree of autonomy, while the federation pushes for a stronger centralised state. But although this issue should be solved before Bosnia becomes an EU member, it should not hinder the accession process itself, the minister argued. The international presence in the country in the form of an EU mission and international envoy with strong governing powers is not incompatible with Bosnia becoming an EU candidate either, he said. Additionally, "the role of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) is definitely diminishing, it's a matter of months I would say for closing it. I don't see it beyond June 2010," Mr Alkalaj pointed out.
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

AriRusila's BalkanPerspective » Blog Archive » Bosnia on the road to the EU, sorry to Dissolution - 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

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

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

06.11.08: Western Balkans still way off EU entry criteria - 0 views

  • EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn made clear yesterday (5 November) that Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Kosovo, are still a long way away from getting clear persprectives of EU accession.
  • In spite of the EU executive's insistence that its assessments are based on objective criteria, the countries in the region are increasingly aware that enlargement is no longer fashionable in the EU, especially in the context of the current financial crisis and uncertainty following the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by Ireland.  European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said on Tuesday that "perhaps with the exception of Croatia," no enlargement was possible without the Lisbon Treaty. This statement contradicts strong views, expressed repeatedly by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that no enlargement whatsoever was possible before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force (EurActiv 20/06/08). In fact, the Nice Treaty provides institutional arrangements for only 27 member states, but some countries believe that it may be possible to find a compromise to accommodate Croatia. 
  • Links European Union European Commission: Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2008-2009 European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on the candidate countries: Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo European Commission: 2009 the year of the Western Balkans European Commission: Croatia 2008 Progress report European Commission: The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Albania 2008 Progress report European Commission: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008 Progress report European Commission: Montenegro 2008 Progress report European Commission: Serbia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Kosovo (under UNSR 1244/99) 2008 Progress report
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.10.08: EU to warn Bosnia. Macedonia - still no date for opening EU accession taliks - 0 views

  • In a report on the western Balkan countries' progress towards the EU that the European Commission will present next week, Brussels will reiterate a warning it expressed earlier about Bosnia and Herzegovina's political instability and the lack of reform in the country. "Constitutional elements established by the Dayton/Paris peace agreement [which ended the 1992 – 1995 war in Bosnia] have been challenged by key political leaders in both entities" of Bosnia – the Serb-populated Republika Srpska and the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • "The lack of consensus on the main features of state building… and [the] inflammatory rhetoric have adversely affected the functioning of institutions and have slowed down reform" in the country, reads the draft of the document seen by the EUobserver.
  • Macedonia – still no date for opening EU talks For its part, EU candidate Macedonia is to be disappointed yet another time, as it will again not be offered a date to open membership talks with the bloc. "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has made some progress in the course of the last year but does not yet meet the political criteria," according to the commission. "The parliamentary elections of 2008 did not meet key international standards and the recommendations of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights remain to be addressed. The lack of constructive political dialogue between major political parties and actors adversely affected the functioning of the political institutions," it goes on.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.02.09: Bosnia tilts toward ethnic partition | EU - European Information on Enlargement & Neighbours - 0 views

  • The three nationalist parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina have signed an agreement, which according to the local press, could signal the country’s partition.
  • Should the agreement receive parliamentary support, then the division would be sealed. The three parties – SNSD for the Serbs, SDA for the Muslim Bosnians and HDZ BiH for the Croats - do not have a majority and need the support of other political players.  The Banja Luka agreement was signed only days after the departure of Miroslav Lajčák, the high representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who became Slovakia's foreign minister.  It is still unclear if the position of high representative of the international community in the Balkan country will be maintained. Le Monde writes that once again, the international community appears to have no coherent strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.04.08: Bosnia to Sign EU Deal on 26 May - 0 views

  • 30 April 2008 Brussels_ Bosnia and Herzegovina will sign a key EU pre-membership deal on 26 May.
  • To secure the signing of the deal, Bosnia had to pass a series of highly-contested police reforms which was a precondition for the country to advance in the EU integration process. The police reform laws were designed to bring a measure of harmony to the law-enforcement systems in Bosnia, whose functions and powers since the 1995 Dayton peace agreement have been split between the country’s two virtually independent entities, the Republika Srpska and the BiH Federation. The reforms were approved earlier this month following much deliberation by Bosnian politicians. The EU’s failure to sign the deal with Bosnia on Tuesday raised eyebrows among journalists since a deal was hastily signed with Serbia. Read more:
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

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

10.02.09: EU states consider candidates for new Bosnia envoy - 0 views

  • EU member states have begun talks on who could be the next Special Representative of the bloc in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with five countries having declared official candidates for the job. The UK, Greece, Estonia, Austria and Italy had put forward potential candidates by Monday (9 February), diplomatic sources told EUobserver, not excluding the possibility of more candidates emerging in the next days.
  • Once member states complete the list of candidates to replace him, it is to be submitted to EU high representative Javier Solana who is to make a final proposal to the Political and Security Committee (PSC) – a key EU foreign policy body. The final candidate will then be endorsed by EU member states.
  • Final approval by the Peace Implementation Council – the body regrouping all countries engaged in supervising the peace process in Bosnia – in March would mark the end of the process. EU member states at the end of last year expressed their readiness to "step up" the EU role in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to work to achieve a "transition from the Office of the High Representative (OHR) to a stronger European Union presence." However, Bosnia's slow pace of reforms could put in doubt the closure of the OHR (planned for June) and consequently the reinforcement of the EU's role.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.02.09: The Bosnia interregnum and its consequences - 0 views

  • he position of the most powerful person in Bosnia and Herzegovina will change its occupier for the sixth time in the history of this top international office. The current High Representative of the international community, who is also the EU's Special Representative, will step down from the post as soon as his successor will be named. Miroslav Lajcak, an experienced Slovak diplomat, who has since July 2007 actively participated in the political developments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was appointed Slovak Foreign Minister two weeks ago and the unexpected announcement of his resignation was published by the end January. What does it mean for Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.03.09: Bosnia's irresponsible politicians drive Auntie EU crazy - 0 views

  • Take Bosnia-Herzegovina, where EU foreign ministers today named Valentin Inzko, a high-ranking Austrian diplomat, as the bloc’s new Special Representative. Inzko will wear two hats - he was named the world’s High Representative for Bosnia last week. But it will be something of a miracle if he makes any progress towards bringing the Bosnian state off the international life support machine on which it has depended since the end of the 1992-95 civil war. Insofar as the EU has any idea what to do, it seems to believe that the mutual suspicions that poison relations between Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Serbs (and, to some extent, both communities’ relations with Bosnian Croats) will gradually disappear under the lure of eventual EU membership for the country. But as an excellent new report by the International Crisis Group points out, Bosnia is quite unlike the other former communist states to which the EU has - often successfully - applied this soothing strategy.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.03.08: Rehn: Bosnia could sign EU deal in April - 0 views

  • SARAJEVO -- EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn says Bosnia could sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) in April.
  • Rehn added that he believed in Bosnia-Hercegovina’s European future, and that signing the agreement was possible if all the established criteria were met. “Bosnia-Hercegovina has a clear EU future with the remaining west Balkan states. That is a process during which every country must individually meet political and economic criteria for membership and adopt all the Union’s laws,“ he told daily Dnevni Avaz.
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