‘Conquered’ vs. ‘Octroyée’ Ownership: Police Reform and Conditionality in the EU’s Peace/Statebuilding of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Giulio Venneri


In 2004, police reform was identified as a key prerequisite for progress in the European Union (EU) accession process of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Three years later, that conditionality sparked one of the most severe crises in the country’s post-Dayton history. At that time, analysts focused mostly on the technical and security-related aspects of this reform. This article instead analyses the political developments that accompanied the reform, specifically the difficult confrontation between the EU and local elites. The paper posits that the failure of conditionality induced the EU to accept a more flexible and domestically-owned reform agenda. With the credibility of the whole European integration project for Bosnia and Herzegovina at risk, the EU refrained from further confrontation and softened its most critical demands, thus enabling local politicians to perform a ‘conquest’ of the reform agenda.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/res.v5n3p57

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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