Bosnia and Herzegovina's unity put to the test

The Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, celebrated its Republic Day on January 9 with more pomp and circumstance than ever before. At the end of September its citizens had voted in a referendum to continue marking the day of the entity's founding despite the fact that it has been ruled unconstitutional by the state Constitutional Court. Commentators find it worrying that no one seems to be interested in these developments.

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Novi list (HR) /

International community has given up on Bosnia

With its illegal celebration of Republic Day the Republika Srpska has sounded the death knell for Bosnia, Novi list fumes:

“In the Balkans, at the heart of Europe, the threat of a regional restructuring on the scale of a new cold war has emerged and no one is doing anything about it. Europe has just as little energy for dealing with Bosnia as the Nato and the US, which already gave up this struggle during Obama's presidency. The situation will only get worse under Trump. Their withdrawal frees the way for Russia and Putin won't miss this opportunity, as we can see now in Banja Luka. … Separation has become the sole purpose of the Republika Srpska, described by the Serbian patriarch who attended the illegal and unconstitutional celebration as 'God's work'. And the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić, who also travelled to the celebration, agrees with the dream of his 'Brother Mile' [Milorad Dodik, President of the Republika Srpska]: the unification of Serbia with the Republika Srpska.”

Delo (SI) /

Next referendum will be on independence

More referendums could follow in the Republika Srpska, Delo fears:

“The anti-constitutional referendum on the Republika Srpska's national holiday has not yet received official sanction. It cannot be ruled out that further referendums will follow, given the international community's lenient reaction. Let's not forget, the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska has already voted for the organisation of a referendum on Bosnia and Herzegovina's justice system. What's more, a referendum on the independence of the Republika Srpska could soon be on the agenda, although this 'divine creation' emerged amid ethnic cleansing and genocide. That would not be an encouraging scenario for Bosnia and Herzegovina.”