ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Union Integration Process: Systemic Limitations to Progress in the Rule of Law
1 International Burch University, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2 International Burch University, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
This paper critically examines the systemic limitations impeding the progress of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) from the perspective of the European Union (EU). Despite significant efforts and investments by the EU to foster democratic governance and the rule of law in B&H, progress has been inconsistent and fraught with challenges. Through a comprehensive analysis of policy documents, legal frameworks, and qualitative interviews with key stakeholders, this paper identifies three primary systemic barriers: entrenched ethno-political divisions, the complexities of the post-conflict legal landscape, and the intricate governance structure of B&H. The article also explores how these barriers are exacerbated by external influences and internal political dynamics, which often hinder both EU efforts and the local adoption of necessary reforms. Additionally, the research delves into the EU’s policy approach towards B&H, assessing its effectiveness in addressing these systemic issues. The paper argues that EU strategy in this field needs to be more attuned to the specific political and social context of B&H that is also marked by an ongoing peace process, i.e. implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord (DPA), as the two processes increasingly end up in a friction due to different priorities and mandates in B&H. The findings contribute to broader understanding of deficiencies of systemic processes and their impact on democratization in post-conflict societies, particularly in the B&H. Results of the analysis focuses on the the need for a more nuanced and context-sensitive approach in promoting the rule of law and democratic reforms in B&H.
Keywords: European Union, Bosnia and Herzegovina, EU acquis, rule of law, Dayton Peace Accord
HOW TO CITE THIS ARTICLE
Čakal A., Ramić Mesihović L. (2024). Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Union Integration Process: Systemic Limitations to Progress in the Rule of Law, MAP Social Sciences, 4, 137-148. doi: https://doi.org/10.53880/2744-2454.2024.4.137