The February 2014 protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina have shown clearly that Bosnia-Herzegovina is still- 20 years after the signing of the Dayton Accords- the key country for security in the Western Balkans. These protests have also shown the limits of the influence of EU policies in the region, and have again sparked local and international discussions about the future role of the international community in general, and the EU in particular. Besides the discussion about quick and large-scale change to the Dayton Constitution, some observers and students of Balkan politics have pointed to the need for partial reforms, while others favour the idea that the international community should stop meddling in Bosnian affairs. The early reactions of EU officials to the events in Bosnia-Herzegovina have prioritised socio-economic measures rather than constitutional reforms. The following article stresses the importance of an increased EU commitment to Bosnia-Herzegovina under a revised and comprehensive strategy. The new strategy should include improving the economy as one of its priorities; however, the EU should also increase its efforts for constitutional reforms and assume more responsibility to make the Bosnian state functional. The article also highlights that recent events in Bosnia-Herzegovina have illustrated the urgency for a more decisive enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans and argues that the integration of the Western Balkans and Turkey with the EU are not rival processes but complementary. The article first examines the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Balkans in the post-Dayton period and then makes suggestions to improve security and stability in the Western Balkans.
- Perceptions Spring 2017
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