The “Bosnia and Herzegovina 2023: How to Breathe Life into the EU Integration?” project is organized by the Aspen Institute Germany and the Southeast Europe Association, with the generous support of the Federal Foreign Office. The project’s focal point is an international conference in Berlin, and it will culminate with the creation of proposals by the conference attendees. The project will run from April 2023 until August 2023. The in-person conference was held in Berlin on Monday, June 26, 2023. The results will be published in the upcoming months.
The months leading up to the conferencewere crucial for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite positive political momentum following parliamentary and presidential elections in October 2022 and the granting of EU candidate status in December 2022, crucial challenges remained, including blocked institutions, vested interests, corruption, and ethnic tensions. Therefore, numerous reforms are necessary.
The conference aimed to develop concrete ideas on how the reform process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as its EU integration, could be supported, how the role of civil society could be strengthened in the process, and how the international community could assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in this endeavor. To do so, the Aspen Institute Germany and the Southeast Europe Association invited members of academia, politics, economy, and civil society from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, and the international community to a conference in Berlin.
To encourage lively discussion, the conference centered around four working groups: Functioning Democratic Institutions, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, Media Freedom and Fundamental Rights, and Economic Development. In these groups, the individuals were able to exchange their views on the present situations and future prospects that relate to their specific subject. The working groups were initiated with an opening panel, followed by input from civil society, and concluded with a closing panel where each group presented their ideas and suggested solutions.
Key topics and questions of the conference included: How can reform efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina be meaningfully supported? How can structural problems and inertia in the country be overcome? How can the instruments of the international community be used efficiently? How should incentives and conditioning be balanced? What role should civil society play and how can it be supported?
This white paper presents the outcomes and suggestions from the international conference on Bosnia and Herzegovina held on June 26, 2023.
- Junior Program Officer
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