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01 March 2016
Following concerted international pressure, Republika Srpska President Dodik 8 Feb announced controversial planned referendum challenging authority of state judiciary to be postponed. Bosnia submitted formal EU membership application 15 Feb.
European in Bosnia and Herzegovina
With the fall of the Berlin Wall, a wave of political changes came also to the Balkans. As a legacy of almost 50 years of communism in the region, people were more susceptible to continuing to cherish the cult of the leader, even in multiparty systems. Some of those leaders brought independence and ‘democratic’ mechanisms to their countries but remained as key political figures who suppressed development of a democratic culture. Since the wartime leaders have been replaced by more democratic politicians, the Balkan states have attempted to build more democratic governments and societies. However, the main dilemmas relate to security and unresolved statehood. This has dominated political life and influences how the European Union interacts with the region. Fears of a chain reaction in the Balkans’ ‘powder keg’ (i.e. the re-instigation of movements to create ‘greater’ nations in order to enlarge the boundaries of the state beyond historical boundaries, beyond those areas where the national ethnic group was in the majority or to adopt ethnic cleansing as a political doctrine), and that this could spread to the rest of Europe, continue to define the EU’s engagement policy and the ways in which the accession and preaccession agenda is articulated.
The Europeans deluded themselves that the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 1992 would calm down the ultranationalists, bring about an acceptable compromise and, more importantly, prevent large-scale violence. Their decision, accompanied by various statements and declarations, called for an immediate ceasefire. For example, only a few days after the recognition, they ‘call[ed] upon Serbian and Croatian Governments to exercise all their undoubted influence to end the interference in the affairs of an independent republic and to condemn publicly and unreservedly the use of force in Bosnia and Herzegovina’, warning them that ‘[p]arties responsible for such actions will be internationally held accountable for their acts’.