The year in which the 30th anniversary of admission of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to the United Nations (UN) was marked, and which, to a large extent, began with negative connotations and expectations, due to the Covid crisis, negative economic trends and a kind of political paralysis, inherited from the previous year, was finalized with the granting of candidate status to BiH, which, in general, was assessed as a great step forward in terms of European integration.
The decision to grant candidate status to BiH for membership in the European Union (EU) was unanimously adopted by its leaders in Brussels in mid-December, and it is a long-awaited positive signal, which to some extent relaxed the situation in the country, awakened hope and opened perspectives for a better future of the country and its citizens.
It is important to mention that the first quarter of 2022 was marked by political turmoil, and the focus was on negotiations on the BiH Election Law, i.e. amendments to that law, which ended in March without concrete results.
Negotiations with the political parties of BiH were conducted through international negotiators – the director of the European External Affairs Service (EEAS) Angelina Eichhorst and Michael Murphy, the ambassador of the United States (U.S.) in BiH.
One of the cases that aroused special public interest refers to the “Dzenan Memic case”, which ended with the first-instance acquittal of the Court of BiH, pronounced against Zijad Mutap et al. It was the epilogue that produced different reactions and, according to media reports, resulted in an additional drop in confidence in the BiH judiciary.
In the second half of 2022, i.e. at the end of July, there were citizen protests in front of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) regarding the announcement that High Representative Christian Schmidt could impose changes to the Election Law, which were attended, among others, by appellants before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the president political parties and BiH officials.
The protests in front of the OHR headquarters continued at the end of October, and after the implementation of the General Elections and the decision of the High Representative regarding the Election Law and the Constitution of the Federation of BiH(FBiH), published on the night of the elections, which was met with strong condemnation in one part of the public, and in another to approval, or, on the other hand, a neutral attitude, and produced new controversies in public discourse.
In the context of preserving a safe environment in specific circumstances, and the presence of internal and external threats, two important decisions for BiH and its citizens followed at the beginning of November.
Namely, the UN Security Council made a decision to extend the mandate of the EUFOR mission, i.e. operation “Althea”, which put an end to the doubts and fears that appeared in the public regarding that issue. According to analysts, this decision prevented a serious security risk.
The second decision concerns the Reform Program for 2021 and 2022 which was adopted by the Council of Ministers of BiH, and which is important for the Euro-Atlantic path of BiH, but also in the context of the modernization of the Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH) in accordance with the document ‘‘Overview of Defense‘‘.