Year: 2022 / Volume: 2 / Number: 1
Abstract: While the European Union’s accession criteria have served as a driving force in promoting democracy throughout Central and Eastern Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has lagged behind other countries in the region in its efforts to achieve EU accession. Despite the incentives of potential EU membership, BiH continues to struggle with completing its democratic transition and consolidation. With three ethnic groups challenging the legitimacy of the state, progress has been hindered by contested authority, control over the decision-making process, and uncertainty about others’ intentions. By prioritizing the need for institutional reforms that would grant state institutions power over entities and demanding both policy coordination among entities as well as standardization of legislation across the country, the EU has not diminished these inter-ethnic fears. As a result, while widespread consensus exists in the country that international integration is desirable, progress has been restrained by continued uncertainty of what such integration would entail for the current consociational arrangement and each group’s ability to regulate its own affairs.
Keywords: Bosnia and Herzegovina, European Union, membership criteria, post-conflict democratization