“Bosnia must seize this historic opportunity” claimed Angelina Eichhorst, Director of the European Union External Action Service, in her statement while speaking to the press at the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Indeed, against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US and EU have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to gather local actors in order to agree on a reform for BiH’s election law.
Constant talks and fears of a new war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) alongside the country’s worsening political situation are not the sole reason why 23-year-old Sarajevan activist and marketing management student Kerim is moving to Berlin in a couple of months.
Thirty years ago, Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia and soon after entered a war that would eventually claim the lives of an estimated 100,000 people. Today, Bosnia faces “the greatest existential threat of the post-war period”, as secessionist moves by Bosnian Serb leader, Milorad Dodik, have the potential to disrupt the central state. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, such threat is all the more alarming.
Its complex federal structure, ethnic-based vetoes, and institutional overkill make Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH)’s Constitution an exceptional constitutional arrangement. Though its peculiarity is acknowledged by both early and contemporary commentators, current discourse around constitutional changes are less unique, resembling in part populist debates that have emerged on the European stage in recent years.
The February 2014 protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) have highlighted a crisis which is more than social and economic. The paper summarizes the latest events in the BiH political scene in the context of the failing EU integration process, debating the different stances about renewed international engagement in the country. It argues that the Dayton system, which brought war to an end in 1995, needs reshaping and that the recent protests could represent the emergence of a new political actor, ready to move the country out of ethnic quagmire