As 2019 is nearing its end, Bosnia and Herzegovina are going through problems that, unfortunately, will not end in the New Years Eve.
The migrant crisis, the return of ISIL fighters and civilians from Syria, disputes on the highest political level, an increasing number of young people who left the state… are just some of the problems that marked this year.
It is a fact that BiH has no solution for a large number of migrants who are trying to reach EU countries. The eastern state border, with Serbia, is full of holes and the Border Police do not have enough officers to cover all of them. Still, there is no exact number of migrants who entered the country via illegal border crossings, but according to estimations, their number is bigger than the year before. In fact, all estimations are based on the number of registered immigrants; the number of those who bypassed all controls and reach the EU through BiH is unknown. The migrant crisis had two milestones this year. The first was the opening of the Vučijak immigration camp, which was the result of immense pressure from the local population who argued that immigrants are entering their homes and provoke the citizens. The Vučijak site, however, was so badly chosen and organized that voices were raised for its closure. The transfer of immigrants from Vučijak to settlements near Sarajevo was, in fact, the second milestone in this case.
One of the things to remember in this year is the arrival of the first group of BiH citizens from Syria. Nine members of the group were ISIL fighters and the rest were women and children. The group spent several months in Kurd prisons in Syria and their transport to BiH was delayed because of the events in Syria. Next year, BiH expects even more citizens, some say up to 200, to be returned from Middle East battlefields.
Political disputes are not something new in BiH but 2019 will certainly be remembered as one of the most unusual years in state history. Through this year, along with disputes between various national groups (Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats), the disputes inside these national groups escalated. The most visible proof of that is the event in Republika Srpska National Assembly, when Minister of Interior, Dragan Lukač, hit opposition MP, Draško Stanivuković, in the face. Stanivuković provoked the ruling party MPs and members of the Government all day, but the physical contact, in this case, was inadmissible.
But, there are also a few good things to be remembered in 2019. For example, after more than a year since BiH held elections, politicians agreed to unblock the establishment of the State Council of Ministers (CoM). The whole year passed in negotiations about the Annual National Programme (ANP) – which opposition in Republika Srpska considered to be a step closer to NATO – and the subsequent appointment of a CoM Chairman. Almost at the end of the year, when it was obvious that all further postponements are contra-productive, leaders of political parties and Presidency members reached a concession on this important issue. Still, there is the question: Why did they do it earlier?
The Federation BiH is still without Government and seems that this issue will wait a large part of next year to be solved.
Another positive event was the first Pride Parade ever in BiH. This state was last in region that organize this kind of event. Fortunately, the event was peaceful and went without problems./ibna