The limits of the European vision in Bosnia and Herzegovina : An analysis of the police reform negotiations
From the beginning of 2000 the European accession process was placed at the centre of peace-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The prospect of EU membership provided a common vision that encouraged different segments of society and the political elites to bridge ethnic divergences and engage in authentic post-war reconciliation. As pre-accession criterion the European Union required Bosnia and Herzegovina to unify its fragmented policing system at the level of the state. This requirement proved, however, to be a step too far, resulting in a protracted and ultimately unsuccessful process of political negotiations that lasted from 2004 to 2007. The European Union´s insistence on placing law enforcement authority at the state level came to be viewed as an identity threat, which affected interethnic group dynamics in a negative way. From this premise, this study assesses the impact of the negotiating process on the political discourse in Bosnia and Herzegovina and on public notions of societal security and illustrates the background and rationale of the European Union´s strategy.