Doris Pack on Bosnia: “We cannot fix the situation from outside” 

Doris Pack  

Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats have all taken to the streets in Bosnia and Herzegovina to demonstrate against the government, which they blame for the country’s deteriorating situation. Together with Ukraine, this represents another source of unrest at the borders of the EU. We asked Doris Pack, a German member of the EPP group who wrote a report on Bosnia's progress towards EU membership, about possible scenarios for the country's future.

The unrest showed that an extremely divided society can unite when there is a common will. Is it a possible way forward for the country or a threat to the already fragile stability?

There is no stability and I have been expecting this unrest for a long time. The political leaders are not willing to find a compromise, unable to resolve any of the problems crucial for citizens. I hope the political leaders who have not stepped down yet and are responsible for the situation will start to listen.

How could the current situation influence the country's progress towards EU membership?

It could lead to a better political situation in the country, if the leaders make steps forward and resolve problems. We can only give a helping hand, as we do all the time, and show that we are still deeply interested in the future of the country. Strong representation of the EU and the international community in place should convince people to pave the way to the European Union.

What can we do to help improve the situation and get Bosnia out of the political deadlock?

We are not the actors. We try to show them which steps to take, but in the end I think they know them well. It is a shame that the interests of the leaders are different from those of citizens, who want to be a part of the EU and have a better future.

The protesters voice their discontent about the overgrown administration, which is prone to corruption. The country’s structure - based on an unworkable constitution, deepening ethnical divisions instead of binding the people together - needs reshaping. We cannot do it from the outside. We can prepare a better working construct together, but there needs to be the will from within. If there’s none, then I’m afraid we face a long-term difficult situation.