Insights on Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Council debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina is scheduled for Monday 9 May. The High Representative and EU Special Representative Valentin Inzko gave a speech on 2 May at the French Institute for International Relations which may foreshadow some of the advice he will give to the Council. Inzko expressed concern that “Bosnia and Herzegovina was currently facing one of the most serious crises since the end of the war, with the fundamentals and the constitutional order of the state at stake”. Seven months after the general elections there is still no state-level government. He asserted that the country was “possibly in the deepest political crisis … since the signing of the Dayton Agreement”. Inzko stated that much will depend on developments over the coming months and it was very timely for the international community to take stock of its peace implementation and statebuilding efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Political will by domestic party leaders to compromise and reach solutions seemed to be the missing ingredient.
Inzko also spoke about the now well-advanced plans to establish a reinforced EU presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina (referring to the decision to separate the offices of High Representative (OHR) and the EU Special Representative) which would enable the new EU representative an enhanced role. Inzko expressed hope that the OHR and the reinforced EU office will be able to operate in tandem to reverse the downward trend of the last five years.
Inzko also stressed that in order to function effectively and to enter the EU Bosnia and Herzegovina needed to overhaul its constitution. He stated that the experience of the last two decades showed that positive change is more likely if the international community facilitated and supported this process.