Bosnia and Herzegovina: What’s happening now… and what’s next?

Bosnia and Herzegovina: What’s happening now… and what’s next?

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 - 5:00pm
Venue: 
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Speaker(s): 
Valentin Inzko (High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Chair: 
David Madden (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Convenor: 
Othon Anastasakis, (St Antony’s College, Oxford); David Madden (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Discussant: 
Richard Caplan ( Linacre College, Oxford); Jessie Hronesova (Aktis Strategy Ltd)
Series: 
SEESOX

Abtract: As the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement approaches, membership in the EU and NATO remains the fulcrum of any successful strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But the fact that Bosnia is on a long path towards integration with these institutions by itself will not be enough to ensure irreversible stability and prosperity in the country. In fact, the last several years have seen the slow unravelling of much of the progress achieved after the war to reintegrate the country’s institutions and peoples. Divisive nationalist agendas have returned to prominence. Representatives of the Republika Srpka have been more assertive in their rhetoric on secession, some Bosnian Croat politicians threaten a third-entity, and some Bosniak politicians seem all too ready to warn of a possible conflict. Behind this rhetoric and driving the political instability are the vicious cycles of corruption, political patronage and nationalism. On the positive side, the country has taken some constructive steps forward on its path to becoming a candidate country and the Berlin process and other initiatives have had an impact on regional relations. But for these developments to be reflected on the ground and the achievements of the post-conflict period to really take root, the international community will need to be more robust and prescriptive in insisting on real political and economic reforms.

Valentin Inzko entered the Austrian diplomatic service in 1974. Between 1982 and 1986, he worked as press attache at the Austrian embassy in Belgrade. After that, he worked at the Austrian mission to the United Nations. Between 1990 and 1996, he worked as the cultural attache at the Austrian embassy in the Czech Republic, and between 1996 and 1999, he was the Austrian ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Between October and December 1992, he was a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe mission to the Sandžak region in Serbia. In 2005, he was named as the Austrian ambassador to Slovenia. In March 2009, he became the seventh High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, replacing the Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajčák. Inzko thus became the second Carinthian Slovene to occupy that position, after Wolfgang Petritsch who served as the High Representative between 1999-2002. In June 2010 he was elected to be chairman of the National Council of Carinthian Slovenes.