recent years, many analysts have expressed concern that the international
community’s efforts over the past 17 years to stabilize Bosnia and
Herzegovina are failing. Milorad Dodik, president of the Republika Srpska
(RS), one of the two semi-autonomous “entities” within Bosnia, has obstructed
efforts to make Bosnia’s central government more effective. He has repeatedly asserted
the RS’s right to secede from Bosnia, although he has so far refrained from
trying to make this threat a reality. Some ethnic Croat leaders in Bosnia
have called for more autonomy for Croats within Bosnia, perhaps
threatening a further fragmentation of the country.
The Office of the High Representative (OHR), chosen by leading countries and
international institutions, oversees implementation of the Dayton Peace
Accords, which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia. It has the power to fire
Bosnian officials and impose laws, if need be, to enforce the Dayton
Accords. However, the international community has proved unwilling in recent
years to back the High Representative in using these powers boldly,
fearing a backlash among Bosnian Serb leaders. As a result, OHR has become
increasingly ineffective, according to many observers. The international
community has vowed to close OHR after Bosnia meets a series of five objectives
and two conditions.
The EU’s main inducement to enlist the cooperation of Bosnian leaders—the
prospect of eventual EU membership—has so far proved insufficient. The
prospect of NATO membership has also had little effect. In April 2010,
NATO foreign ministers agreed to permit Bosnia to join the Membership
Action Plan (MAP) program, a key stepping-stone to membership for NATO. However,
the ministers stressed that NATO will not accept Bosnia’s Annual National Plan
under the program until the entities agree to the registration of defense
installations as the property of the central government. Dodik has
rejected doing so for installations on RS territory.
The U.S. political role in the country appears to have declined in recent years
as the EU role has increased. The Obama Administration has stressed the
importance of maintaining a close partnership with the EU in dealing with
Bosnia. Like the EU, the United States has urged Bosnian politicians to
agree among themselves to constitutional and other reforms to make Bosnia’s government
institutions more effective and better coordinated, so that the country can
become a better candidate for eventual NATO and EU membership.
The United States provided just over $2 billion in aid to Bosnia from the
country’s independence through FY2012. Aid to Bosnia has declined in
recent years. For FY2013, the Administration requested $28.556 million in
aid for political and economic reforms in Bosnia from the Economic Support
Fund, $6.735 million in the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement account
(INCLE), $4.5 million in FMF, $1 million in IMET aid, and $4.75 million in NADR funding.
Date of Report: January 24, 2013
Number of Pages: 17 Order Number: R40479 Price: $29.95
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