Bosnia-Herzegovina. How to build a viable road to EU membership

Balkan Focus policy brief series

Policy Brief

12/12/2023

Since it began with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in 2005, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s EU path has been marred by the country’s unwillingness to gather the necessary political consensus to adopt the reforms needed to improve its functionality, its rule of law and its democratic standard.

This feature has proved itself true throughout BiH’s EU journey. The limits of conditionality have been overcome by Brussels’ and the member states’ several decisions to lower the bar and allow Sarajevo to go further. The 2022 decision by the Commission and the Council to grant BiH the candidate status stems from almost purely geopolitical considerations rather than from the effort of Bosnian institutions to reform. The same will most likely be true when, in March 2024, the Commission might recommend the Council to open accession negotiations.

The Balkan Focus policy brief series, published in cooperation with Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI) and Karl Renner Institut, is realised in synergy with the Friends of the Western Balkans (FoWB) project. It provides the FoWB network with background analyses on current political developments in the Western Balkan countries, as well as on the debate and process of European enlargement. The policy briefs also factor in the outcome of the debate held by the FoWB members. Three more policy briefs will be published later this year.

Network
Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI)
Karl Renner Institut
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