analysis 23 Sep 16

EU Embracing Bosnia to ‘Weaken Nationalists’, Experts Say

As anxiety mounts in Bosnia over the referendum set for Sunday, the EU decision to accept its candidacy is designed to resolve issues about its stability, say analysts.

Eleanor Rose
BIRN
Sarajevo
Illustration. Photo: Pixabay.

The European Union’s acceptance of Bosnia’s candidacy application is timed to push forward reforms and ward off questions of stability as nationalist rhetoric escalates, experts say.

Balkans analyst Jasmin Mujanovic said there was a “fundamental disconnect” between Sunday’s proposed referendum in the mainly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, which has triggered tense exchanges and hints at violence, and the congratulations issued to Bosnia this week over its new step forwards.

The EU’s acceptance of Bosnia “is an indication … that the EU is very concerned about the threat of the referendum and generally deteriorating situation in the country, and they want to use this moment to weaken some of these nationalist forces”, Mujanovic said.

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