What the Belgrade-Prishtina Agreement means for Bosnia

The agreement between Belgrade and Prishtina, even if its implementation will surely hit some snags has repercussions beyond the two countries themselves. In particular Bosnia is going to be affected, being the other country in a continuous major political crisis.

First, the ability of the Serbian and the Kosovo government to find a compromise should put the current political elite of Bosnia to shame for not agreeing on some basic reforms, ranging from the implementation of Sejdić-Finci verdict to ensuring that Bosnian farmers can continue to export their dairy products to Croatia after it joins the EU on 1st July.

The second major consequence of the agreement will be for Republika Srpska and Milorad Dodik. Lately, he and his associates from the SNSD seem out of step with reality.When Tomislav Nikolić apologized the other day for Serbian war crimes, Dodik only commented that the interview (for BHT) was aggressive and that because he wants “good relations with Serbia and its leadership, there is no sense nor need to go into public comments and polemics“–hardly an endorsement for Nikolićs apology. Relations with Serbia have deteriorated after Dodik placed all his bets on Boris Tadić during the elections last year and thus is clearly not in favor with the current government, especially Aleksandar Vučić. The corruption investigations in Serbia that involve good “friends” of Dodik also did not help to improve relations.

Now with the deal between Serbia and Kosovo, Dodik has also lost his ability to evoke a credible alternative to Bosnia. His continuous suggestions that Republika Srpska might eventually become independent  has received a serious blow. While he never talked about the RS joining Serbia, it is clear that the RS could only leave Bosnia with Serbian support. The RS is too small and isolated to achieve this without a supportive neighbor, especially as few other countries in the region and in Europe are likely to take a favorable view. It never seemed particularly plausible that Serbia would support the RS in independence (instead of supporting it as an at least formal part of Bosnia) at the price of EU accession and worsening relations with its neighbors, but it has now become even less credible. The Serbian government has shown a degree of pragmatism and willingness to not pursue the idea of partition in Kosovo. So why would a government of Serbia “give up” on Kosovo, despite it being still part of Serbia according to its constitution and turn around and support the RS. As Dodik’s ally in Serbia, the DS also supports the agreement, Dodik seems rather isolted with his more critical view of the agreement. In fact, he is now closer to Koštunica and thus without strong allies in Serbia. Even if the DS were to return to power in Serbia (unlikely any time soon), it would be without Tadić as a friend and without the same ambiguity he displayed over the RS and Kosovo. Just a few days ago, Nebojša Radmanović, the Serbian member of the Bosnian presidency, evoked  in an interview the RS assembly resolution from 2008 that claimed if half of the UN members recognized Kosovo, the RS would also have the right to declare independence. Now, the count is over half with 98 (of 193) UN members recognizing Kosovo and a referendum on independence of the RS seems increasingly unlikely and evoking its might just start sounding a lot holler in next year’s electoral campaign.

3 Responses to What the Belgrade-Prishtina Agreement means for Bosnia

  1. Florian, Very good piece, spot on! Bruce
    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
    From: Florian Bieber
    Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2013 19:27:50 +0000
    ReplyTo: Florian Bieber
    Subject: [New post] What the Belgrade-Prishtina Agreement means for Bosnia

    Florian Bieber posted: “The agreement between Belgrade and Prishtina, even if its implementation will surely hit some snags has repercussions beyond the two countries themselves. In particular Bosnia is going to be affected, being the other country in a continuous major politica”

  2. Giuseppe says:

    Sure that Bosnia is going to be affected….I am not that sure if positively!

  3. Anno Domini 1377. says:

    Bosnia has nothing to do with Kosovo, since Kosovo was autonomous area in SR Serbia within former SFRY. Bosnia and Herzegovina was a Socialist Republic like Serbia and Croatia within SFRY, but without any autonomous areas at all. Entity of Republika Srpska was created in the period from 1992. to 1995. as desire of Serbian chauvinists who considered Bosnia is a historic Serbian land, on genocide and aggression of Serbia and Montenegro (FRY) against sovereign and recognized Republic of B&H. At the bottom line, linking of B&H case with Kosovo is ridiculous, and further insisting of Serbian politicians on larger autonomy, and even independence of Serbian territories (which never existed in history of Bosnia within Bosnia) will result with blowing of a balloon which has to explode… This time, Serbs could regret their ignorance, because situation now is strategically much different than in 1992, and majority of population in B&H who are Bosniaks and other citizens loyal to Republic of B&H are too revolted to stay quiet and remain defensive. Everything has its limits.

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