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BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA

 
  
  

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,963 5,249 4,800 104
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,540 1,270 1,240 123
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
51,129

Population
4,007,608

Capital
Sarajevo

Currency
Convertible Mark 

President 
Borislav Paravac



Update No: 114 - (28/11/06)

An Extended Engagement for EU Peacekeepers
The European Union postponed the decision on reducing its peacekeeping forces (known as EUFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina in November, saying the matter will be discussed again in December. However, the Bosnian forces -- which are ethnically segregated and more like police -- cannot even fight crime, let alone keep order.
Negotiations on merging the Bosnian forces into a single state unit have stalled, with the Serbs refusing to merge or allow any other ethnicity to patrol their mini-state. Thus, EUFOR's withdrawal preparations are wavering. Bosnia is simply not ready to handle its own security, or its own government, without the supervision of the United Nations and EUFOR -- and the international community knows it.

Analysis
The European Union has postponed the decision on reducing its peacekeeping forces (known as EUFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying the matter will be discussed again in December. The European Union had been considering cutting its contingent from 6,000 troops to 1,500 in 2007 as Bosnia-Herzegovina transfers from U.N. supervision to its own government. Withdrawal preparations are wavering, however, as negotiations on restructuring Bosnia's security force are stalled once again and political instability is brewing within Bosnia itself and the region as a whole. 
Under the Dayton Accords of 1995, Bosnia was delicately arranged under three governments and supervised by the U.N. high representative for Bosnia. The country is split along ethnic lines -- between the Muslim Bosniac-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbian Republic of Srpska. Each has its own government and constitution, yet both are governed by a central government consisting of a parliament and a tri-presidency that rotates among Bosnia's three ethnic groups. However, the U.N. high representative has the final say in any government decision and can dismiss any government member. The United Nations plans to hand over supervision to the central government, not to the mini-states' governments -- a point of contention for the Republic of Sprska -- in 2007, and those mini-states' government agencies are to be dissolved

Discord among concord
Adding to the confusion, each ethnic group also has its own police force, though the Bosniac and Croat forces recently merged under the federation (but only on paper, for each still patrols its own ethnic territory). The forces -- which are nothing more than police -- only patrol their own mini-states and have the reputation of not being able to even fight crime, let alone keep order in the region. The European Union aims to reorganize the police forces so Bosnia will have a statewide police service and all of its ethnically based regional forces will be abolished -- two developments the European Union and United Nations want to see. The Serbs have firmly said however they will not give up their own police forces, nor allow the other ethnic forces to patrol their mini-state. Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik has said, "If we have to choose between the European Union and the police of Republic of Srpska, we will choose Republic of Srpska." U.N. High Representative for Bosnia Christian Schwarz-Schilling has said that a united police force plan must be agreed on by Nov. 20. That date is right around the corner, and neither side is budging.
Bosnia is not ready to stand on its own politically, either. Under the United Nations and EUFOR, Bosnia's three ethnic groups have been relatively peaceful -- but then the country is segregated and full of international peacekeepers. In the elections for all three governments Oct. 1, three nationalists were elected to the Bosnian tri-presidency. This is the government to which the United Nations -- after controlling Bosnia for 11 years -- will turn the country over in 2007. The elected representatives to the tri-presidency have very different ideas on the future of Bosnia. Bosniac President Haris Silajdzic and Croat President Ivo Miro Jovic both want the unification of Bosnia. This would dissolve the mini-state governments and leave the central administration to govern the country as a whole. Bosnian Serb President Nebojsa Radmanovic has threatened to hold a referendum for the Republic of Srpska's independence should Bosnia move toward unification, for unification would see the other two ethnicities governing the Serbs two-thirds of the time. Many Croat leaders have said that if the Serbs exit Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croats would rethink their position in the country. An exit by the Croats would split the country's Muslim populations in half, leaving Bosnia where it was before the Yugoslav wars in 1992. 
To add to an already tense situation, complications are rising from Bosnia-Herzegovina's neighbour, Serbia, which is facing its own fracturing with Kosovo's impending independence. The United Nations suspended a decision on Kosovo's fate Oct. 19 in order to allow Serbia to hold elections Jan. 21. The upcoming Serbian elections are a race between the moderates (relatively speaking) and the ultranationalists who are determined to not let Kosovo go. 
Bosnian Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanic -- a Serb -- said Nov. 13 that if Kosovo gains independence from Serbia, it could lead to unpredictable consequences for other regions (referring to Srpska's calls for independence). Kosovo's independence could not only lead Srpska to push for independence, it also could lead Srpska to try to unify with ethnically related Serbia.
One bright spot in this Balkan mess is that the European Union is not oblivious to the situation. French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said the union must make sure it has enough troops in the region and the ability to bring in more forces quickly if Bosnia becomes unstable or if instability spills over from Kosovo. The German Cabinet reversed an earlier decision to withdraw its 850 peacekeeping troops by the end of 2006, saying the forces will remain for at least another year. Berlin did take steps toward a future withdrawal, cutting the number of troops Germany can send to Bosnia from 3,000 to 2,400. The United States plans to withdraw by the end of 2006, and the United Kingdom plans to move its troops out by spring 2007. The U.S. withdrawal is not really significant -- only 220 U.S. troops are stationed in Bosnia, and they are separate from the other troop divisions, patrolling Sarajevo only -- but this is not to say the United States is not setting up its own safeguards. Washington is currently building a large embassy capable of housing "substantial" amounts of people and equipment in the centre of Sarajevo, just in case. 
The EU could draw down troops in 2007 before the transfer of power from the United Nations to the Bosnian government, but it will maintain enough of a troop presence to keep the order and maintain the ability to rapidly deploy forces to enforce stability in the region as a whole. It would not be surprising if both the EUFOR and U.N. withdrawal deadlines were both postponed further -- if not indefinitely -- as tensions escalate among the players within Bosnia and the Balkan region.

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BANKING

Serbian Komercijalna Banka opens new offices 


Belgrade-based Komercijalna Banka plans to open 10 new offices in Bosnia, including Sarajevo, by the end of the year, Bosnian Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic said, Italian news agency ANSA reported. 
Dinkic said that Komercijalna, which began operating in Bosnia on September 26th, plans to open 14 more offices in the country in 2007. Komercijalna Banka's Bosnian subsidiary, Komercijalna Banka Banjaluka, is a joint venture with the Belgrade Foreign Trade Insurance and Financing Fund. The former holds 19,999 shares, while the latter has just one.

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ENERGY

136th country to ratify global ban on nuclear testing 

Bosnia-Herzegovina is the 136th country to ratify the global ban on nuclear testing, the Vienna-based Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) said on November 7th, New Europe reported. 
Bosnia formally deposited the ratification documents with the United Nations on October 26, to become the 21st country in Eastern European region to ratify the treaty. The treaty bans all nuclear weapons tests and nuclear-related explosions.

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FOREIGN INVESTMENT

US investors showing more interest in Bulgaria 

Interest among US investors in Bulgaria is growing, US ambassador to Bulgaria, John Beyrle, told Sofia news agency. 
DSK Bank and US Investment and Market Development (IMD) signed a memorandum of agreement, aimed at facilitating the implementation of US investment projects in Bulgaria. The document was signed by DSK CEO, Violina Marinova, and IMD managing partner, Ivan Drenovichki. 
Projects are to be implemented in several key sectors such as tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, transport and energy. The terms of cooperation and financing for the separate projects will be agreed on a case-by-case basis, the signatories said. DSK Bank will help in the selection of investments and ensure acceptable risk profiles of the project loans. According to Beyrle, US investments in Bulgaria would double this year compared to investments in 2005. He recently visited the Rousse region and said he wanted the area to attract future US investments. 

31m Euro in EBRD funds for SMES, industrial schemes 

The EBRD is planning to sign, by the end of the year, two contracts worth a total 31 million Euro for Bosnia's SMEs and industrial schemes, Italian news agency ANSA reported. 
A total 20 million Euro will be used to support SMEs, while 11 million Euro will be channelled toward industrial development in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
According to the Italian Foreign Trade Institute ICE in Sarajevo, the first contract refers to a credit line for development of SMEs through Raiffeisenbank, while the second funding will go to paper mill Natron Hayat in Maglaj.

 

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