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The EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina: Democracy promotion within the limits of the "ethnic conflict" paradigm

Cooley, Laurence (2011) The EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina: Democracy promotion within the limits of the "ethnic conflict" paradigm. UNSPECIFIED.

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    Seeking to contribute to the emerging debate about the substance of EU democracy promotion policies, this paper takes as its focus Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the EU‟s current democracy promotion efforts are primarily focused on reform of the country‟s constitution. Bosnia‟s current constitution, established by the 1995 Dayton Agreement, provides for consociational power-sharing and extensive territorial decentralisation. While EU officials have stressed the inadequacies of the present constitutional arrangements, over time the reforms demanded have become more limited in scope. As such, I suggest that the outcome of any successful constitutional reform negotiations will be technical fixes to the present constitution, allowing the country to meet the obligations of future EU membership, rather than its wholesale redesign. Rather than promoting liberal democracy as it has elsewhere, then, in Bosnia the EU supports the perpetuation of consociational structures, which EU officials regard as the most realistic option given the country‟s post-conflict political context. Faced with the lack of a constitutional norm within the Union, let alone a consociational one, EU policy-makers have instead chosen to refer to a particular reading of the history of the European integration project itself in order to lend support to their approach in Bosnia, which continues to privilege group over individual rights. I highlight how notions of a „union of diversity‟ or a „union of minorities‟ are used to legitimise an approach to democracy promotion that is predicated on a view of Bosnia as composed of a patchwork of ethnic groups with discrete and discernable interests and identities.

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-South-Eastern Europe (Balkans)
    EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > enlargement
    Countries > Bosnia/Herzegovina
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > democracy/democratic deficit
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2020 15:49
    Number of Pages: 34
    Last Modified: 04 Jan 2020 15:49

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