New Year in BiH: Fresh beginning or continuation of disagreements?

New Year in BiH: Fresh beginning or continuation of disagreements?

The beginning of 2019 is a chance for the politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina to make the New Year resolution to leave old disputes behind and to start to serve to the benefit of all citizens, but according to first statements in this year, it appears that this is sort of “mission impossible”.

First of all, the state has entered the year without a newly elected Council of Ministers. According to the provisions of the Dayton Peace Agreement, this institution does not govern but rather acts as an advisory body of BiH Presidency. In the last two decades the Council, de facto, has become the kind of government and have almost all responsibilities that the government should to have.

According to the law, the old Council has all powers until the new one is elected and it makes the establishment of this institution a mighty weapon for the political blackmail of various parties. After the October 2018 general elections, it was expected that BiH would soon elect a new Council. The name of the future Chairman has already been announced, but the process for his election has ceased. Bosniak and Croat parties, and their representatives in BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić, want to hold the old Council in power until the adoption of the decision of the state’s approach to NATO. The Serbs are against this decision and the new Chairman is supposed to be a Serb politician, which makes the decision about NATO uncertain. This “game” can cost BiH and its citizens a lot of money in the future, but seems that no one cares.

BiH entered New Year burdened with the investigations of the deaths of two young men, Dženan Memić from Sarajevo and David Dragičević from Banja Luka. The Parents of victims in these unsolved murder cases are angry on the judiciary institutions in both entities and their anger has made many citizens unsatisfied about the slow investigations and lack of justice. The end of the previous year will be remembered as one of the most violent on the Banja Luka streets, where police forces broke protests of the group “Justice for David”. Unfortunately, some political parties see their chance to try to come to power through this protest and the story gets the political note. The only solution for this situation is to find who killed these two students, but this is not likely to happen until the BiH state Prosecutors office takes over the cases, provided that the perpetrators did not destroy the evidence, since they have had enough time to do that.

One of the problems BiH must solve in this year is migrations in and from the country. Last year, more than 24 000 migrants from Middle East entered BiH over the porous borders with Serbia and Montenegro. It is important to note that this is the number of those migrants that were registered by institutions and nobody knows the real numbers. For poor country such as BiH, this is a problem since all of the migrants must have food, roof and medical help. It would be impossible without the international financial support, but the process is slow and insufficient.

On the other side of the migrant story is the fact that a lot of BiH citizens want to leave the country and find job and better future for their families in the EU countries. The consular offices of these countries are under siege from the workers who want to leave the country forever. In BiH it creates a kind of problem it has never faced before – lack of workers on, for example, construction sites. Many entrepreneurs say that, if they lose any more workers, it would endanger their businesses.

These are just few of the problems that BiH state and entities institutions must try to solve this year. However, the distrust of citizens in institutions is strong and politicians will have a hard task to do something to regain it./IBNA