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Leaving Dayton for Brussels: Reviving Bosnia’s constitutional reform

Bosnia-Herzegovina / DISCUSSION PAPER
Berta López Domènech

Date: 28/06/2023
In December 2022, the European Council granted Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status. However, to make EU membership a reality, Bosnia needs to address several conditions and implement major reforms.

Almost three decades since the end of the Bosnian war, the country continues to be governed along sectarian lines and is overseen by an internationally appointed authority, the High Representative. Moreover, the ethnic provisions of the Dayton constitution discriminate against parts of its citizenry.

This Discussion Paper stresses the need to reopen the debate on Bosnia’s constitutional reform, arguing that the EU should accompany the country’s efforts to become a fully functional and democratic state.

A new constitution is vital to improving institutional functionality, streamlining decision-making, and guaranteeing equality for all citizens – all of which would ultimately allow for the closure of the Office of the High Representative. The EU should use the granting of candidate status to Bosnia as an opportunity to advance the conversation on reforming Bosnia's constitution per European democratic norms.

Read the full paper here.
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