The Western Balkans 6 Strategy Group, working under the auspices of the Heinrich Boll Stiftung, assesses the Open Balkans project as an enterprise that would adversely compete with the Berlin Process and, at the same time, lead regional integration towards an unacceptable and fragmented direction.
Recommendations and expectations for German and European policy.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has direct and significant implications for the Western Balkans. The lack of a consistent and convincing EU perspective and U.S. engagement in the region opened up space for other actors and scenarios aimed at recomposing the Western Balkans as well as promoted regressive tendencies throughout the region.
This report is a follow up to Heinrich Boll Stiftung’s 2019 report People on the Move in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018: Stuck in the corridors to the EU. In the first report, we covered the situation in BiH during 2018, and how it carried on in 2019. Since we wrote the report nothing much, but at the same time a lot has changed and happened with relation to the people on the move who have continued to come to the country to this day. Unlike previous years, the majority
of people arriving are from Afghanistan.
There is a great difference between a mere survival of the humankind and the preservation of quality of life. That is why the role of justice in the green transition goes far beyond the entitlement to a safe and healthy environment. The coming climate crisis takes place in a world characterized by a whole variety of injustices, which affect all human rights. These injustices will probably be exacerbated by the crisis, on one hand because of deteriorating conditions and on the other due to weakening of social security policies and measures against growing inequalities.
Therefore, our problem is twofold: to develop strategies and policies of a green transition to decarbonised manufacturing, agriculture, and transport; and to do it in a way which not only does not deepen injustices and inequalities but creates conditions for life with dignity for all. In other words, the fundamental change of human relation to nature should be accompanied by a similarly fundamental change in social relationships.
Three legal cases/political scandals during 2018-19 grabbed the attention of the domestic public and the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The first two concerned the unresolved deaths of two young men, Dženan Memić in Sarajevo and David Dragičević in Banja Luka. The improper investigative conduct of the police and judiciary regarding their deaths raised suspicions of cover-ups and political interference. The third concerned corruption allegations against Milan Tegeltija, then president of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC), the BiH judiciary’s self-managing body.
The three cases marked the nadir of a steady decline of the rule of law institutions in BiH over the last decade and a half, and stand in stark contrast to 2005 when BiH was a frontrunner among Western Balkan countries aspiring to European Union (EU) membership. Rule of law achievements until then had been the result of substantial and systematic judicial and (to a lesser degree) police reform carried out during the immediate post-war period under the leadership of the international community.
For the past three decades, Western Balkan countries have been going through a dynamic period of consolidation of new states, economic transition and transformation of social values. This process of regional and internal consolidation is unfinished and the legacy of conflict is still powerful; yet the outlook of EU accession is the one positive project offering a perspective to societies and economies while settling the wounds of the past.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) cannot yet be defined as a new "stable democracy". Čović (HDZ B&H) is trying to make changes to the B&H Election Law before the 2022 General Elections, which is to ensure the "legitimate representation" of the constituent peoples. In this way, with "legitimate representatives", a way would be opened for the implementation of their own long-term strategy, which undoubtedly goes in the direction of rounding off the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina which is inhabited by majority Catholic population, i.e. the rebirth of the "extinguished" so-called Herzeg-Bosna, its full territorial and political autonomy and its eventual annexation to the Republic of Croatia.
In a policy brief, experts of the West Balkan Strategy Group have presented the set of problems in a short and comprehensible way and formulated recommendations for action in order to come closer to a genuine citizen society in BiH. Stability and progress in the Balkans will not be achieved without a solution to the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And it is not only a regional problem, but a pan-European one.
Recent developments in Southeastern Europe are diminishing the image of the European Union and its perspective of the region. The long history of the dispute over the history of the region of Macedonia, the identity of ethnic Macedonians and the question of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria is threatening the EU integration of North Macedonia, but also the entire Western Balkan 6.
“Srebrenica is turning into a vaste slaughterhouse. The killed and wounded are being brought to the hospital continuously. It is impossible to describe it. Each second, three deadly projectiles are falling on this town. Seventeen casualties have just been brought to the hospital, as well as 57 severely and lightly wounded people. Will anyone in the world come and witness the tragedy that is befalling Srebrenica and its residents? This is an outrageous crime against the bosniac inhabitants of Srebrencia. The population of the city dissapears.
Whether Akashi or Boutros-Ghali or someone else is behind it - I'm afraid it doesn't matter anymore for Srebrenica..“
S r e b r e n i c a , J u l y 10, 1 9 9 5, N i h a d Ć a t i ć