EU should stand strong for its standards





In the framework of the FEPS and EFDS research programme “Enhancing Democracy Pre and Post EU Accession” an assessment visit was organised to Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo and Banja Luka), on 23-25 of April. The main focus of the visit was the issue of enhancing representative democracy. The discussions were organised around three subtopics: democratic transition, citizens' Europe (with a special focus on internal party democracy) and the influence of international actors. Delegation members met politicians, NGO representatives, researches and academia.
 
Firstly, Judit Tánczos gives and overview of the transforming role of international actors in BiH. Fragmentation, lenient approach, non-transparent political discussions and deals – the harshest critics stated cynically that instead of transforming the political life and society, international actors might have learnt too much from domestic politicians. Nevertheless, instead of this pessimistic picture, it should be rather acknowledged that there is certainly a shift in policy which has led to inconsistencies. The importance of the OHR is decreasing, but the EU might have not yet assumed its leading role in the country's democratic transition. Hence, the possibility is there to offer again a unified vision on Bosnia-Herzegovina's future in the framework of the EU integration process.
 
Secondly, Danijel Tadic analyses the internal political situation of the country. In his article he focuses on the ethnic division set in the constitution and on political culture. The political culture in BiH is much more about competition and conflict and less about compromising. Adding to that the fact that many issues are (on purpose) ethnically loaded, an inefficient political dynamics is created that is characterised by low quality of the democratic output.
 
The objective of the policy brief is to contribute to a unified, progressive European vision on the future of BiH.
 
Should you have any further questions concerning the paper, please, contact Judit Tánczos at judit.tanczos@feps-europe.eu and Danijel Tadic at dtadic@foundationmaxvanderstoel.nl