SARAJEVO (Reuters) – The European Union urged Russia on Friday not to drag the Western Balkans into its deepening rift with the West over Ukraine, reflecting concern that the region risks becoming another point of East-West tension.
The countries of the Western Balkans have their sights set on membership of the EU, but diplomats say Russia is exploiting economic hard times and pro-Russian sentiment among some Orthodox Christian Slavs to build influence in the region.
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Bosnia’s new presidential triumvirate took office on Monday in a first step to forming a government the West hopes will press economic reforms to help unblock stalled efforts to join the European Union.
The presidency comprises a Serb, a Croat and a Bosniak, part of an unwieldy system of ethnic power-sharing laid down in a U.S.-brokered peace deal that ended Bosnia’s 1992-95 war.
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – The European Union needs to spell out much more clearly economic and political reforms required from Bosnia’s leaders in exchange for helping to accelerate its accession bid and unlocking funds for the Balkan country, a think-tank said on Friday.
In a report entitled “Retreat for Progress in Bosnia”, the Democratisation Policy Council (DPC) criticized a British-German plan for Bosnia unveiled in Berlin last week as too “modest” and as failing to set adequate reform incentives.
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Nationalists with opposing views of Bosnia’s future secured the most votes in this month’s general election, but none will be able to rule alone, raising the prospect of lengthy power-sharing talks and new delays in long-overdue reforms.
More lost time could further destabilize Bosnia’s fragile economy, which slowed further this year after devastating floods in May and badly needs fresh money from the International Monetary Fund to cover its growing budget gaps.
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Nationalists deeply divided over the future of Bosnia have extended their rule over the Balkan country, offering scant hope of genuine change to a political system designed to end a war but seen as ineffective in peace.
With a majority of votes from Sunday’s elections for national, regional and local representatives, the main nationalist parties from the Bosniak, Serb and Croat communities looked to have held on to power.
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Nationalists with little shared vision of Bosnia’s future were in the lead in an election for the three-person presidency on Sunday, likely portending more dysfunction in a country still haunted by the divisions of a 1992-95 war.
Based on a partial vote-count, authorities said Bakir Izetbegovic, Dragan Covic and Zeljka Cvijanovic were out in front in the race for the tri-partite state presidency, as the Bosniak, Croat and Serb representatives respectively.
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Bosnians voted for national, regional and local representatives on Sunday in elections dominated by still-unresolved issues of identity and statehood after almost 20 years of peace, and with scant prospect of any genuine change.
Many Bosnians had hoped civil unrest in February might generate enough momentum to oust the political elite, widely seen as corrupt and incapable of reforming a complex system of ethnic power-sharing that ended a 1992-95 war but which has signally failed to steer the Balkan nation closer to Europe.
TOPCIC POLJE Bosnia (Reuters) – Bosnia’s 3.3 million voters will choose a new political elite across six layers of government on Sunday in an election that, had it happened a few months ago, might have been a catalyst for change.
But hopes that civil unrest in February would usher in a brighter future for a country riven by corruption and ethnic and ideological divisions have been all but extinguished in the aftermath of devastating floods that struck three months later.
VITEZ Bosnia (Reuters) – Renata Pranjkovic, known across Bosnia as the “Bullfight Queen”, is one of the few women but best-known personalities in the world of the Balkan bullfight.
The 36-year-old Pranjkovic is a breeder and referee for the bull-against-bull fights, a tradition in Bosnia stretching back for more than 200 years.
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund will hold off on disbursing the next tranche of Bosnia’s aid program until the Balkan country implements agreed economic policies, most likely after the October election, a senior IMF official said on Friday.
An IMF mission visiting Bosnia could not conclude the eighth review of its 380 million euro ($487.92 million) standby arrangement for Bosnia, in place since September 2012, said Ron van Rooden, who headed a 10-day mission.