BiH2.0 PERCEPCIJE PERCEPTIONS

Regionalni razvoji

Regional developments

Strpljenja više nema

Ekonomski problem i njegov socijalni udar uzimaju danak u usklađivanju priče da je nekad Balkanu bilo dozviljeno da sanja o evropskom prosperitetu, kao i o motivaciji tih zemalja da poguraju reforme u ime integracije EU. Godina 2014. bila je ekonomski teška, kad su Srbiju i BiH pogodile velike poplave i vanjski udari otežali ionako tešku ekonomsku situaciju. Iako većina zemalja može očekivati skromnu dobit iz dramatične redukcije cijena nafte i povećan iznos u neto izvozu u početnom (iako skromnom) oporavku u Eurozoni, sveukupan izgled ostaje smanjen, odražavajući ograničenja specifična za svaku zemlju. Nezaposlenost ostaje visoka u cijelom regionu, a posebno među mladim.

Dok je već neko vrijeme u pitanju priliv migranata iz regiona, protesti i masovna migracija sa Kosova tokom prvih mjeseci 2015, samo su najnoviji znaci frustracije i očaja naroda zbog teških ekonomskih uvjeta u regionu. Prije nekoliko godina, bezvizno putovanje omogućeno drugim zemljama Zapadnog Balkana dovelo je do prvog talasa migranata iz regiona. Činjenica da je Kosovo jedina zemlja na Zapadnom Balkanu isključena iz vizne liberalizacije sa EU nije spriječila rast neregularne migracije ali je možda doprinijela osjećanju nepravde. Sistematski odlasci s Kosova desetina hiljada ljudi tokom prethodnih šest mjeseci u razne zemlje zapadne Evrope (uglavnom Njemačku, Austriju, Francusku, Mađarsku i Švajcarsku) iznijeli su na površinu nedostatke postkonfliktne ekonomske obnove u zemlji.

Iako su ekonomski faktori svakako najvažniji (nezaposlenost pogađa 30% ekonomski aktivne populacije i 55% mladih; pad direktnih stranih ulaganja zbog neuspjeha vlade da stvori prijateljsko poslovno okruženje; prosječna mjesečna plata u iznosu od 230-250 eura), u svakom slučaju nisu jedini. Mnogi su očajni zbog rastuće korupcije koja postaje endemska u njihovim zemljama i izražavaju frustraciju zbog lošeg kvaliteta obrazovanja i zdravstvene zaštite. Štaviše, iako su do izvjesne mjere etničke grupe (tj Romi, Aškali i Egipćani) neproporcionalno predstavljene u talasima emigracije, ne smijemo smanjiti njihov poseban osjećaj marginalizacije. Drugi faktor poticanja bilo je širenje lažne informacije preko Interneta i socijalnih medija koja se tiču prava imigranata u odredišnim zemljama koje su promovisale mreže krijumčara ljudima. Prije svega, Kosovari su veoma pesimistični što se tiče izgleda za pravu političku promjenu i reforme u njihovoj zemlji i ne očekuju da će se pristupanje Kosova EU desiti u skoroj budućnosti. Iako se ne može porediti sa izazovima imigranata koji dolaze u Evropu preko Mediterana ovo je zabrinjavajuće iz dva razloga. Prvo, pokazuje da ljudi više ne vjeruju u obećanja njihovih lidera da će brzo doći bolja budućnost. Drugo, sa antiimigrantskim osjećajima koja su snažna u mnogim zemljama članicama EU, EU političirama ovo još više otežava da podrže proširenje – i eventualno slobodu kretanja pridošlica.

Patient no longer

Economic hardship and its social impact are taking a toll on the convergence narrative that once al-lowed the Balkans to dream of European prosperity, as well as on these countries’ motivation to push through reforms in the name of EU integration. The year 2014 was economically a difficult one, with Serbia and BiH hit by major floods and external shocks aggravating an already difficult economic situation. While most countries can expect a modest gain from the dramatic reduction in the oil price and an increased pickup in net exports due to a nascent (if modest) recovery in the Eurozone, the overall outlook remains subdued, reflecting country-specific constraints. Unemployment remains high across the region, and especially among the young.

While the flow of migrants from the region has been an issue for some time, the protests and mass migration from Kosovo during the first months of 2015 are just the latest signs of popular frustration and despair with difficult economic conditions in the region. A few years ago, visa-free travel granted to the other Western Balkan countries led to the first wave of migrants from the region. The fact that Kosovo has been the only Western Balkan country excluded from the visa liberalisation with the EU did not prevent an increase in irregular migration but might have contributed to the feeling of injustice. The systematic departure from Kosovo of tens of thousands of people during the previous six months to different Western European countries (mainly Germany, Austria, France, Hungary, and Switzerland) has brought to the surface many of the deficiencies in the country’s post-conflict economic reconstruction.

While economic factors are certainly the most important ones (unemployment affects 30% of the economically active population and 55% of young people; decline in foreign direct investment due to the government’s failure to create a business-friendly environment; average monthly wage amounting to €230-250), they are by no means the only ones. Many people feel despair over widespread corruption becoming endemic in their countries and express frustration with the poor quality of education and healthcare services. Moreover, to the extent that ethnic groups (that is, Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians) appear to be disproportionally represented in the emigration flows, we should not discount their particular sense of marginalisation. Another pull factor was the spread of false information through the Internet and the social media concerning the rights of immigrants in countries of destination that was promoted by networks of human smugglers. Above all, the Kosovars are very pessimistic about the prospects of genuine political change and reforms in their country and do not expect that Kosovo’s EU accession will happen any time in the near future. While far from being as challenging as immigrants coming to the EU via the Mediterranean, this is worrying for two reasons. First, it shows that people do no longer believe their leaders’ promises of a better future that would soon come. Second, with anti-immigrant feelings running high in many EU member states, this makes it much harder for the EU politicians to support enlargement – and, eventually, freedom of movement of new entrants.

Dijalog među
elitama regije

Prethodna godina bila je svjedok pozitivnih razvoja u regionu – jedan albanski premijer posjetio je Srbiju prvi put poslije blizu 70 godina, srbijanski premijer otišao je u Zagreb na inauguraciju nove hrvatske predsjednice i najavio svoj odlazak u Srebrenicu u julu, regionalna saradnja je mnogo više zastupljena – srbijanski ministar vanjskih poslova posjetio je Prištinu a njegov kosovski kolega Beograd (iako u kontekstu regionalnog okupljanja) dok se nastavlja (ne tako lako) implementacija sporazuma pod okriljem EU između Srbije i Kosova. Ipak je bio veliki broj provokativnih izjava i zapaljivih riječi, u nekim bilateralnim raspravama koje na region udaraju punom snagom.

Da počnemo od retorike koju lideri koriste kad dođe do tumačenja regionalnih izazova a koja je više zapaljiva nego što vodi ka rješenjima. Tu je incident sa dronom, koji se desio na fudbalskoj utakmici između Srbije i Albanije a koji je prethodio (i bio razlog odlaganja) posjeti premijera Rame Beogradu; Ramini nedavni komentari o ‘ujedinjenju’ Albanije i Kosova kroz evropsku integraciju; razmjena saopštenja koja se odnose na moguću posjetu Tachija Srbiji. I uz ovo ‘slaba grmljavina’ poput Šešelja i paljenje hrvatske zastave u Beogradu, i opasnost da se pretvori u retoričku spiralu izvan kontrole. Znajući da neriješena pitanja (jedno manje nakon što je ICJ odbacio tvrdnje Srbije i Hrvatske za genocid) još potresaju region i ovaj rizik se ne smije podcijeniti. Iako Hrvatska ide ka neizvjesnom ishodu na predstojećim parlamentarnim izborima sa nacionalno-konzervativnim HDZ-om koji trenutno vodi u izbornim anketama, svako dalje pogoršanje odnosa između Zagreba i Beograda povećava šanse da hrvatske vlasti mogu promijeniti svoju bezuvjetnu podršku za ulazak susjednih zemalja u EU i početi razmišljati o mogućnostima veta.

Najava da je na snazi kraj pristupnog procesa koji je izvan životnog vijeka svake regionalne vlade i, što je važnije, da geopolitika ima prednost nad unutrašnjom transformacijom, ima opipljivije posljedice u regionu Zapadnog Balkana: gubitak EU poluge dalje je usporio reformske napore, uz novu zabrinutost za slobodu medija i izbijanje autoritarnih tendencija. Ovo opće nazadovanje je opasno ne samo za politiku proširenja nego i za veću kredibilnost tranformativne moći EU u njenom susjedstvu. U nekoliko zemalja regiona na vlasti dominira jedna partija, uz snažnu parlamentarnu većinu. Iako ovo omogućuje tim vladama da preduzmu teška pitanja, to jedva da doprinosi već slaboj političkoj kulturi, pošto nema poticaja da se angažuju na dijalogu sa drugim akterima ili potraže uzajamna rješenja. Ovo utiče na kvalitet demokratskog procesa koji u, krajnjim slučajevima, vodi do kršenja slobode medija i govora i napada na nezavisna tijela. Kako ta društva tek počinju da grade nezavisno sudstvo i profesionalne, depolitizirane civilne službe, sadašnja situacija je sve alarmantnija.

Dialogue among the
elites in the region

The previous year saw a number of positive developments within the region – the Albanian Prime Minister (PM) visited Serbia for the first time after nearly 70 years, the Serbian PM went to Zagreb for the inauguration of the new Croatian President and announced his intention to go to Srebrenica in July, regional cooperation is much more inclusive – Serbian Foreign Minister visited Prishtina and his Kosovar counterpart Belgrade (although in the context of regional gatherings) while the (not so easy) implementation of the EU-facilitated agreement between Serbia and Kosovo continues. There were, however, a fair number of provocative statements and heated exchanges, with some bilateral disputes hammering on the region with full force.

To begin with, the rhetoric that leaders resort to when it comes to interpreting regional challenges is more inflammatory than it is conducive to solutions. A case in point is the drone incident, which occurred at the Serbia-Albania football game that preceded (and was the reason for the postponing of) PM Rama’s visit to Belgrade; Rama’s recent comments about Albania’s and Kosovo’s “unification” through European integration; the exchange of statements regarding Thaci’s possible visit to Serbia. Add to this ‘loose cannons’ like Šešelj and the burning of the Croatian flag in Belgrade, and the danger of rhetoric spiralling out of control becomes obvious. Knowing that unresolved issues (one fewer after the ICJ dismissed Serbia’s and Croatia’s genocide claims against each other) still plague the region, this risk should not be underestimated. While Croatia is heading towards an uncertain outcome in the upcoming parliamentarian elections with national-conservative HDZ sitting currently in the front seat in opinion polls, any further deterioration of relations between Zagreb and Belgrade in-creases the chances that Croatian authorities might change their unconditional support for the EU ac-cession of neighbouring countries and start thinking about possible veto points.

Proclaiming the end of the accession process to be comfortably outside the lifespan of any regional government currently in power and, even more importantly, geopolitics taking precedence over internal transformation, is having tangible consequences in the Western Balkans region: the loss of EU leverage has further slowed reform efforts, with new concerns about media freedom and authoritarian tendencies emerging. This generalised backsliding is dangerous not only for enlargement policy, but also for the wider credibility of the EU’s transformative power in its neighbourhood. In several countries of the region, governments are dominated by a single party, with a strong parliamentary majority. While this makes it possible for these governments to take on difficult issues, it is hardly contributing to the already poor political culture, as there are no incentives to engage in dialogue with other actors or seek consensual solutions. This affects the quality of the democratic process leading to, in extreme cases, infringements of the freedom of media and expression and attacks on independent bodies. As these societies are only starting to build independent judiciaries and professional, de-politicised civil services, the current situation is all the more alarming.

Izazivajući vlastito pravo
– Bosna i Hercegovina i Makedonija

Bosna i Hercegovina je u višeznačnoj i dubokoj krizi koja uključuje ustavni zastoj, nefunkcionalne državne strukture, političke elite koje se bave samo sobom i stagnirajuću ekonomiju – agonije koje zajedno govore o ograničenjima transformativne moći EU. Poslije prošlogodišnjih izbora, došlo je do skromnih promjena u političkoj areni, iako je ostala većina poznatih političkih aktera. Politička priča se, međutim, mijenja, posebno nakon uspostave Vijeća ministara i vlade Federacije, iako postoji izvjesna zabrinutost zemalja članica do koje mjere je kredibilna ova nova retorika. Nakon njemačko-britanske inicijative i zajključaka Vijeća u decembru 2014. svađalačka elita zemlje obavezala se, u pisanom saopštenju koje je podržao Parlament, za funkcionalnost vladinih institucija, ekonomsku i socijalnu reformu i vladavinu prava. Ovo je deblokiralo Sporazum o stabilizaciji i proširenju, koji je bio na čekanju zbog nemogućnosti da se riješi slučaj Sejdić/Finci. Akcije su trenutno podijeljene u dva smjera: (1) ekonomske reforme koje će zajednički definisati BiH i EU, uz nadzor i finansijsku potporu međunarodnih finansijskih institucija, (2) pitanja koja se odnose na vladavinu prava koja će se rješavati na terenu kroz delegaciju EU (DEU), uz podršku zemalja članica EU i drugih relevantnih aktera.

Bitno je da se momentum održi na obje strane; novonaimenovani lideri BiH predstavili su sebe i svoje akcione programe skoro svim vanjskim ministrima EU na margini Vijeća za vanjska pitanja u aprilu, uz podršku visoke predstavnice EU Mogherini i komesara Hahna, ali tražeći solidne rezultate. Istovremeno, novonaimenovani specijalni predstavnik za BiH će potaknuti ekonomsku reformsku agendu za zemlju krajem maja ili početkom juna, na osnovu rezultata konsultacija prije svega sa MMF-om i rezultata radne grupe koju čine predstavnici EU i vlade BiH. Ključni izazov će biti da li će elite u BiH prevesti svoje opredjeljenje u stvarnost. Opsežni pregovori oko njihovog potpisa na prijedlog njemačko-britanske inicijative bacaju izvjesnu sumnju na njihovu posvećenost.

Slično problematična, dugoročna prepirka s Grčkom oko naziva zemlje spriječila je Makedoniju da krene sa otvaranjem pristupnih pregovora posljednjih sedam godina. Stvarna zabrinutost je, vremenom, postala nemogućnost vladajućih političara da se odupru nazadovanju demokratije kako u pitanju o slobodi medija, i podgrijavanju međuetničkih tenzija. Makedonija se danas nalazi u dubokoj političkoj krizi. Sadašnja politička polarizacija između dvije glavne makedonske partije se dalje produbila nakon što je premijer Gruevski optužio opoziciju za špijunažu a opozicioni lider počeo redovno objavljivati prisluškivane razgovore koji govore o korupciji, sistematskoj zloupotrebi položaja, izbornoj prevari i nizu drugih zločina premijera i njegovih najbližih saradnika. Zabrinjavajuće je, i ostaje da se vidi, da li će i kakav efekat sadašnja kriza imati na uzdrmane međuetničke odnose u zemlji.

Komesar Hahn je izrazio ‘ozbiljnu’ i ‘duboku’ zabrinutost u vezi sadašnjeg razvoja u Makedoniji. Međutim, EU je bila primjetno nevoljka da se uključi, uz različite stavove među vladama EU o tome kako reagovati, samo uzrokujući dodatnu konfuziju. Sadašnji angažman EU koji se fokusira na medijaciju koju vodi MEP između vlade i opozicije jednostavno nije dovoljan. Da bi EU bila kredibilan akter u makedonskoj krizi, treba da poduzme jasniji pravac i definiše svoje parametre za medijaciju.

Challenging in their own right – Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia

Bosnia-Herzegovina is in a multifaceted and profound crisis that includes constitutional deadlock, dysfunctional state structures, self-interested and self-perpetuating political elites, and a stagnating economy – agonies that together speak of the limits of the EU’s transformative power. After last year’s elections, modest changes occurred in the political arena, though with a majority of well-known political actors still around. The political narrative is, however, changing, especially after the establishment of the Council of Ministers and the Federation Government, even if there is still some concern from Member States to what extent this new rhetoric is credible. Following on the German-British initiative and the Council conclusions of December 2014, the country’s squabbling elites committed themselves, in a written statement endorsed by the Parliament, to the functionality of government institutions, economic and social reform and the rule of law. This unblocked the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the country, which was on hold due to its inability to resolve the Sejdic/Finci case. The actions are currently divided in two directions: (1) economic reforms that would be defined jointly by BiH and the EU, while monitored and financially backed-up by international financial institutions; (2) issues related to the rule of law that would be managed on the ground through the EU Delegation (DEU), supported by EU Member States and other relevant actors.

It is essential that the momentum be kept on both sides; newly appointed BiH leaders presented them-selves and their programmes of actions to almost all EU Foreign Ministers on the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council in April, with EU High Representative Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn providing support, yet asking for solid results. Simultaneously, the newly appointed Special Representative for BiH will kick-off the economic reform agenda for the country at the end of May or in early June, based upon the outcomes of consultations primarily with the IMF and results of the working group composed of EU and BiH government representatives. The key challenge will be whether elites in BiH will translate their commitment into reality. The extensive negotiations over their signature to the proposal of the German-British initiative casts some doubt over their dedication.

Similarly problematic, the long-running row with Greece over the country’s name has prevented Macedonia from opening accession negotiations for the past seven years. The real concern has, over time, become the inability of its ruling politicians to resist democratic back paddling, like on media freedom, and to fuel inter-ethnic tensions. Macedonia today finds itself in a deep political crisis. The ongoing political polarisation between the two main Macedonian parties is further deepened after Prime Minister Gruevski accused the opposition of espionage and the opposition leader began regularly releasing wiretapped calls that suggest corruption, systematic abuse of office, electoral fraud and a range of other crimes by the prime minister and his closest associates. Worryingly, it remains to be seen whether and what kind of effect the ongoing crisis will have on the shaky interethnic relations in the country.

Commissioner Hahn expressed ‘serious’ and ‘deep’ concern related to the ongoing developments in Macedonia. However, the EU has been noticeably reluctant to get involved, with different views between EU governments on how to react only causing additional confusion. The EU’s current engagement focusing on the MEPs-led, low-level mediation between government and opposition is simply not enough. For the EU to be a credible actor in the Macedonian crisis, it needs to take a more forceful line and define its own parameters for mediation.

 

Tražeći drugdje više dobiti
a manje boli

Priziv vanjskih aktera na Balkanu pokazuje da i EU ima svog konja za trku. Otkazivanje projekta Južni tok lišilo je nekoliko regionalnih zemalja investicija na koje su se oslanjali i to je negativno uticalo na njihovu energetsku sigurnost. Uz to Kremlj podgrijava Srbiju (koja je odbila da se pridruži sankcijama EU protiv Rusije i u Beogradu organizovala paradu Putinu ravnu dočeku heroja) ali isto tako Crnu Goru i Bosnu i Hercegovinu. Štaviše, regionalne zemlje sve više, od krize 2008, gledaju u Tursku, Bliski istok i Kinu za investicije, iako njihova primarna orijentacija ostaje prema zapadnoj Evropi. Iako je pragmatizam više od traženja alternative za evropsku integraciju motivisao ta iskustva i na strani balkanskih zemalja i Rusije, ostaje kao podsjetnik da u regionu ‘posao’ nije napravljen i da svaka taktika odlaganja može dovesti do toga da Balkan klizne od uticaja zapadne sfere. EU treba da bude proaktivnija – politički  i ekonomski – ako će evropska integracija i dalje biti glavna ‘igra u gradu’ i smanji svoju snagu poluge na Balkanu.

Looking elsewhere for more gain and less pain

The appeal of external actors in the Balkans is giving the EU a run for its money on its own turf. The cancellation of the South Stream project deprived several regional countries of the investment they relied on and adversely affected their energy security. Still, the Kremlin has been cosying up to Serbia (which refused to join EU sanctions against Russia and organised a hero-welcoming parade for Putin in Belgrade) but also to Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Moreover, the regional countries are increasingly, since the 2008 crisis, looking to Turkey, the Middle East and China for investment, although their primary orientation remains towards Western Europe. While pragmatism rather than a search for alternatives to European integration has motivated these experiences both on the side of the Balkan countries and of Russia, they are a reminder that the ‘job’ is not done in the region and that any delaying tactics can allow the Balkans to slip away from the Western sphere of influence. The EU needs to be more pro-active – politically and economically – if European integration is to continue to be the main ‘game in town’ and redeem its leverage in the Balkans.

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