Serb Leaders Quarrel Over Bosnia's EU Path

Leaders of the Bosnian Serb ruling and opposition parties exchanged harsh words over the weekend as the political struggle moved from negotiations about the formation of new governments to the next highly-disputed issue - a new mechanism for the coordination of EU projects.

The row began after Mladen Ivanic, the chairman of Bosnian tripartite presidency and leader of the opposition Serb Party of Democratic Progress, PDP, told local media on Friday that Bosnia's presidency or the state government, the Council of Ministers, should be a part of this mechanism to make decisions when lower administrative levels fail to agree.

This triggered strong reactions over the weekend from the premier and president of the Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska, who accused Ivanic of corroborating with Bosniaks and betraying Serbs.

The EU coordinating mechanism is supposed to establish clear responsibilities for each of Bosnia's numerous administrative levels in the implementation of EU projects and the overall EU accession process. In Bosnia it has been blocked since 2013 by political disputes arising from the conflicting views which Bosniak, Croat and Serb leaders have about the future of Bosnia. 

While Bosniak politicians expected the EU accession process to make Bosnia much more centralised, the Bosnian Serb leadership insisted on maintaining the full semi-autonomous status of Republika Srpska with all its broad responsibilities - even at the cost of abandoning the EU accession process.

This debate has been on the back burner for the past three years as Bosnia's path to the EU remained blocked by political quarrels related to the constitutional reforms which the EU required during the period. 

However after the EU...

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