On 15 February 2016 Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for membership of the European Union. This was the result of the new policy strategy which the EU introduced in 2014, aimed at unblocking BiH’s integration process and encouraging local elites to accelerate the reform process. Despite a formal application to the EU, the main internal problems of BiH remain the same - local politicians focus more on the power struggle and enhancing ethnic division than on reform and this is hampering the economic development of one of the poorest countries in Europe. For these reasons this report is devoted to analysing the internal challenges to the stability, coherence and unity of the country. Special attention was also placed on examining the interest and strategies of the various international actors since they can hinder or support the reform process.
The Western Balkans, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, is playing a prominent role in the framework of V4 cooperation. The stability of this region and its integration with the EU is of vital interest to the V4 countries. It was for this reason that the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), alongside partner institutions from the V4 countries – the Research Centre of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (RC SFPA), the Institute of International Relations (IIR) from the Czech Republic, and GEO Research from Hungary – and supported by the International Visegrad Fund, decided to develop a joint research project focused on BiH.