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Evaluate The Position Of The Eu Special Representative Politics Essay

The present paper tries to evaluate the position of the EU Special Representative –High Representative of the International Community, within the EU Foreign Policy from an angle of structural foreign policy (SFP).

Analysis of the EU Special Representative’s position and activities within the framework of EU foreign policy, from both an institutional and policy dimension is attempted, but it cannot be considered as a comprehensive evaluation of all the different aspects, as defined by the concept of SFP.

1 Fact-sheet

The EUSR in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is "double-hatted", which means that he is also the High Representative for BiH of the international community under the Paris/Dayton agreements; [1] therefore Valentin Inzko was appointed by the EU as Special Representative in BiH and by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council as High Representative for BiH, both in March 2009. [2] 

The objective of the EU Special Representative is to ensure a coordinated EU action that would lead the country towards stability and future EU integration (through Stabilisation and Association Process). On the other hand, Mr Inzko is also in charge of effective implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. [3] The implementation of programmes of both mandates demand coordinated action in implementing the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) in BiH as well as the Office of the High Representative's Mission Implementation Plan. [4] 

The EU SR mandate in BiH therefore consists of offering the EU advice and support for the political processes in BiH, ensure consistency in EU action through political guidance of both EU Police Mission (EUPM) and EU military operation Althea (EUFOR). Through his spokesperson, EU SR provides EU High Representative (HR) with advice if necessary in this area, but is also consulted when determining priorities of the Instrument of Preaccession Assistance and is expected to contribute to the progress on the human rights reinforcements in BiH, police restructuring, judicial system effectiveness and process of constitutional reform while promoting cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). [5] 

Budget provided for the period from 1st March 2009 to 28th of February 2010 amounted to € 3 200 000. [6] 

Staff should provide expertise on mandated policy issues. Member states (MS) and EU institutions can propose seconded staff to the EUSR, but their pay should be provided by the sending partner. Required nationality for international contracted employees is the one of an EU MS. [7] 

Mr Valentin Inzko, who was born to a Slovene-speaking family of Austrian minority in Carinthia, fluently speaks Slovene and German, Serbian, Croatian, Russian, Czech and English. He previously served as an Austrian diplomat in Serbia, BiH and other countries. [8] He has openly stated his special personal attachment to BiH as one of the advantages for job. [9] 

2 Analysis of the institutional dimension

In order to evaluate the institutional dimension, we have to first consider who do we recognise as relevant foreign policy institution or actors and what do we recognise as a relevant foreign policy treaty provision. We also need to precise terms as institutional strengths, weaknesses and problems, improvements and successes. In order to do that, we need to decide on the criteria, and how do we measure consistency, effectiveness, legitimacy and credibility, for example. The question is how do we evaluate horizontal and vertical consistency (intra-/inter-pillar, intra-/inter-institutional consistency, between MS and between MS and the EU, etc.), as well as its opposite, inconsistency. The same should be done with terms such as effectiveness, legitimacy, and external credibility. The questions are pertinent for the evaluation of foreign policy, since what the EU defines as a success, might not be seen as such by the local population, and in this way external credibility of the EU action is undermined. Sometimes inconsistency is valued by the member states as it allows for different interests (e.g. trade) to be promoted. [10] However, from the viewpoint of the EU, inconsistency is not desirable, as proved by the changes brought by the Lisbon treaty regarding external action.

Next questions asked are what perspective do we adopt – a decision-making perspective where we focus on common, formal decisions, actors and procedures or a policy-making one, where informal processes, interactions and decisions at various stages of policy process are being analysed. A good start is to examine what was identified as a problem or rather which problems got attention. Next, following the line of policy planning, what preparation, proposal, decision, implementation, follow-up, evaluation, problem re-definition, proposal for complementary decision, etc. was undertaken. A policy is as well a set of parallel and/or successive policy processes. [11] Nevertheless, this is just an outline of what could be taken into account when assessing FP, while the time and space constraints of this paper will only allow for a brief insight into some of these issues.

2.1 Position within pillar-system

The EU foreign policy institutional arrangements are formally defined in the treaty. The relevant treaty provisions in the Lisbon treaty remain chapter 2 (Specific Provisions on the CFSP), from Articles 23-46. [12] Formerly known as a pillar-system, it was officially abolished by the Lisbon treaty, however special procedures of the previously second, intergovernmental pillar remain in practice. Lisbon treaty furthermore established a new double-hatted position of EU High Representative for the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), merged it with the post of former External Relations Commissioner. This post has thus gained new responsibilities as a vice-president of the Commission and as a head of a new structure for a more coherent EU external action, the European External Action Service (EEAS). [13] 

Currently, there are many arrangements not yet clear about the organization and functioning of the EEAS. This might be a consequence of an unclear phrasing of the treaty provisions. [14] The last proposal of Ms Ashton was put on the table on the 25th of March, [15] and is currently under discussion. The EU SRs are not mentioned in this proposal; however, the practice shows there have been some changes. The recent appointment of the EU SR in Macedonia, African Union and Afghanistan as the heads of EU delegations to these countries show that the posts of EU SR might be merged in the future with the head of the EU delegations. [16] That institutional innovation happened for the first time in 2005 when EU SR in Macedonia was appointed also the Head of the EC delegations, [17] but the changed role of delegations might bring new responsibilities for the EU SR.

In the 1990s, the Balkans were the biggest EU foreign policy failure. In this sense, they have most noticeable contributed to the development of the EU second pillar and became since 2000 the main testing ground for it as well. As the EU foreign policy at the time was ill-equipped and non-operational for some time, the EU first pillar compensated to some extend. At the moment of diplomatic failure, the EC was effectively helping with non-military actions such as economic sanctions, administration of the city of Mostar, humanitarian assistance and large-scale reconstruction programmes. [18] 

2.2 Relationship with relevant actors

Following the prevalent viewpoint of what actors should a foreign policy take into consideration, equally important actors for the full achievement of the foreign policy goals would be let aside. This does not suggest that the historically dominant state actors; elites, heads of state or government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Defence and other governmental actors, are not relevant anymore. It would rather indicate that the nature of the world has changed with the economic and informational globalization, rendering societal groups equally important for the success of a foreign policy goal. Nowadays, non-state actors, such as different networks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), religious or ethnic groups, have become an important determinant of foreign policy. [19] Especially in the implementation and follow-up stage of EU foreign policy making, there is often a complicated set of actors as EU is part of multilevel and multi-location governance system where informal networks can be very influential in so called nested games. Nested games result from the interconnectedness of actors, from the policy context in which policies are linked to each other and decisions taken involve more actors on all levels. [20] However, most member states are only interested in a limited number of issues, so core groups are developed. [21] One of the core groups for the BiH might consist of the 55 countries formally participating in the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), established after the Peace Implementation Conference in London in 1995, following Dayton Peace Agreement. [22] There might be other core groups, especially informal ones, but it would have been impossible to look at all these actors, procedures and decisions. The following chapters would only provide a small insight of an attempt to unveil some of these interconnected relationships.

EU actors

The EU is the most important actor in the country. The EU High Representative, Ms Ashton, set the Western Balkans region as one of the main foreign policy priorities and proved her interest with her first visit to the region in February 2010. [23] However, that action interfered with the portfolio of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, which has under his responsibility Western Balkans issues (in Directorate C, there is a Unit on BiH). [24] Interestingly, Comissioner Füle visited BiH on 18th of March 2010, and this was his first visit after his appointment in November 2010. [25] European Parliament (EP) is another important EU actor to consider, especially following recent visa regime liberalisation for the countries of Western Balkans, where only Albania and BiH have been excluded from the first round. [26] However, the EP relations to BiH might not be of first priority, given that BiH is treated in a package with other Western Balkans countries that have not yet been granted the status of candidate country (i.e. Albania, Serbia and Montenegro). [27] Council of Ministers and especially its rotating presidency plays an important role in setting priorities. In this view, Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU in the first part of 2008 was important for the region as one of its priorities included Western Balkans. However the non-uniform recognition of the independence of Kosovo announced during the presidency proved that the states remain independent in their decisions, undermining the role of the EU as a whole. Current Spanish presidency has taken the distance from the region (Spain has still not recognized Kosovo’ status). There might be some agencies that play an important role with the provision of expert information on the region (e.g. European Environment Agency produces annual environment assessment reports that include the wider European region), however it would be difficult to assess their impact in the framework of this report.

The most important EU actor on the ground next to EU SR is Delegation of the EU to BiH. It is primarily occupied with EU assistance programmes in BiH. The delegation cooperates with local political institutions in managing these programmes, e.g. for the new Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), a National IPA coordinator has been designated (the State Minister of Finance and Treasury), supported by the Directorate for European Integration. The EC and BiH have also set up Programming Management Committee and a Project Programming Committee in order to ensure effective coordination of EU assistance funds. [28] Until 2008, the Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, provided an attempt of the international community to replace the reactive crisis intervention approach with a more comprehensive and long term prevention strategy. It has been officially passed on to regional authorities and became a Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) while its mission to support to the countries of the region and be the point for cooperation remained. [29] 

Of all the international organizations active in the region, the EU has most mechanisms, actions and activities as well as the necessary political skills and best prospects to propose to BiH. It offers a unique combination of political, legal, economic and security competences, which might work combined with money, political will and its own interest. Moreover, the EU has a good reputation in the region as a club providing for prosperity, democracy and peace of its members, and a great deal of attraction comes from that status. Besides, having its moral obligations to fulfil and other interests in the region, the region is the main testing grounds for the EU CFSP where consistency and coherence shall prove its merit. However, the success is not guaranteed and EU has to work in cooperation (and under auspices of the UN) with other organizations on the ground in order to achieve its policy goals. [30] 

Other relevant state actors

There are many other relevant state actors presented in the country, with the biggest influence exercised by neighbouring countries Serbia (Russia), Montenegro and Croatia, as well as a role of Bošnjak elites. Outer circle consists of countries such as Macedonia, Slovenia, Albania, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria; they might prove somehow closer relationship. Finally, there is a circle consisting of EU MS and Turkey, next to other Western countries, such as the USA. Each of these countries has their own embassies in Sarajevo and various ministries and local agencies provide an input. Normally, embassies of the EU countries organize weekly meetings in order to ensure coordinated action of their respective states. When visiting the country, a strong presence of Arab countries can be noticeable due to various informational, promotional and assistance providing offices of these countries spread around the city.

There is a number of international organisations and forums present in the country, already involved in the PIC, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), etc. Most foreign policy is developed through this set of international organizations; however the type of their interactions, coordination, impact on decision-making centres, methods to promote common goals etc. remain to be explored. It has been assessed that while there has been cooperation between several organizations in BiH trying to add to the resolution of the conflict and creation of a stable environment, [31] they did not prevent the gravest conflict in Europe after the World War II nor did they eliminate any of the most fundamental social, economic or political threats to the stability. [32] 

Relevant non state actors

BiH, together with Kosovo, can be described as an epicentre of Western Balkan in which unemployment is high, organized crime widespread and there are still large numbers of displaced people. Societal actors to be taken into account are therefore networks of refugees and black economy including arms, drug, organ and people traffickers. [33] To this it should be added that there is a big community of war refugees in other, mostly Western states (Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland etc.) which constitutes a support and a network for people living in the country.

3 Policy dimension

Next sections will look more closely into EU’s actions, activities and policies pursued in the country under examination, BiH. This will be done through the lenses of the two defining categories of the foreign policy, the so called conventional foreign policy (CFP) in comparison the structural foreign policy (SFP). SFP, defined as “a foreign policy which, conducted over the long-term, seeks to influence or shape sustainable political, legal, socio-economic, security and mental structures” on the various relevant levels: the level of individuals, societies, states, inter-state relations, inter-society relations, and the international level. Put differently, SFP is about the rules of the game that determine behaviour of actors in the game, as structures are defined as “relatively permanent organizing principles and rules of the game”, while CFP focuses on states and inter-state relations, their diplomatic relations and military-based security, on crises and conflicts where military instruments or force is seen as the ultimate standard. [34] 

3.1 Analysing the context

It is pertinent to mention that not the focus on singular actors, instead of their interactions is insufficient from a viewpoint of Constructivist school. The proponents of it point out to the importance of recognition of the fact that reality under examination is a construct, a constantly changing plurality of different components. What matters for observation is therefore the currently recognized understanding built up through their interactions. The attempt of deconstructing reality can be never pursued till the very end, as the observer itself is part of the observed. Taking into account the wider perception we can nevertheless try to complement the observation of static and predefined actors with the recognition of their changing nature and take into account the wider context.

The wider context could in the perspective of foreign policy mean considering underlying structures and processes as an element. It would not stop at events, crises and conflicts, but would encompass systems and processes that have had impacts on these events. Additionally, material realm such as economy and military would not suffice, the attention could be given to immaterial aspects of culture, identity, beliefs. Termed as “winning the hearts and minds”, [35] this idea has been explored as well in terms of soft power concept.

Taking into account the context in which the dominant concept of foreign policy and criteria on which it is assessed, means avoiding two main pitfalls in analyse. The context might have changed and therefore the analysis foreign policy might not be posed on equal basis as beforehand. Historical, institutional and academic context in which the understanding of the foreign policy has been developed needs to be explored. [36] The following paragraphs will explore the particular context in which the EU SR was established and how this context is changed. The aim of this exercise is to evaluate if the EU has managed to avoid pitfalls in its external action in BiH as it developed throughout the years.

When the war broke out in 1992, the first to react was United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), established by the Security Council by resolution in 1992, initially thought to operate in Croatia first, but moved it forward. As the conflict intensified, UNPROFOR’s mandate was enlarged in order to ensure the security and functioning of the airport at Sarajevo; the delivery of humanitarian assistance; support efforts by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and to protect convoys of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Security Council further expanded the mandate of UNPROFOR when fighting persisted to enable it to protect the population in so-called safe areas (Srebrenica, Sarajevo, and others) with including the use of force in reply, deterring attacks, etc. However, due to repetition of attacks by Bosnian Serb forces of the safe areas, UNPROFOR requested NATO to use its air support for the defence of UN personnel. In April 1994, NATO aircrafts first bombed Bosnian Serb positions violating the safe zones status. From March to November 1995, the situation in BiH first deteriorated, and then following both UNPROFOR and NATO forces used against the Bosnian Serbs, the US-led peace initiative, together with a decrease in fighting, provided a solid opportunity for a political solution to the conflict. The peace initiative undertaken by the USA resulted in October 1995 ceasefire agreement and then Peace Agreement was reached in Dayton, Ohio in November 1995. It included a request for the establishment of a multinational military Implementation Force (IFOR) to help ensure compliance with the military provisions of the peace agreement. In this view, UNPROFOR’s existing mandate had to be extended until an appropriate transfer of authority to IFOR had taken place. The Security Council set conditions for IFOR to be established in 1995, composed of units from NATO and non-NATO countries. In a separate resolution, the Security Council decided to establish the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF) and a United Nations Civilian Office. Known as the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), it exercised a wide range of functions related to law enforcement, police reform and coordination of other UN activities such as humanitarian relief and refugees (UNHCR), demining, human rights (UNHCHR), elections and the rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction. It consisted of the UN Civilian Office and the IPTF. Additionally, a UN coordinator was appointed to coordinate all activities in Bosnia. Following the successful conclusion of its demanding mandate involving the biggest UN police reform and restructuring project, UNMIBH was terminated in end of 2002. A follow-on mission was provided for by the European Union. [37] 

After UN, the Police Mission in BiH was the first civilian operation of ESDP, took over from in January 2003, represented the main agency for police reform. EUFOR-Althea was the EU largest military operation, took over from NATO SFOR (Stabilization force), with the objective to provide safety for the population, as the tensions are still present and support authorities in their compliance with peace agreement and law reinforcement. [38] The Operation Althea’s mandate was recently extended to provide security in BiH under the UN mandate even beyond 2010. [39] The UN HR for BiH was appointed in 1995 to oversee the civilian implementation of the Dayton Agreement and together with the Office of the High Representative (OHR) represented the international community, while political entities of BiH should exists in parallel. So the first, civilian aspects of the challenges facing the authorities of BiH at the end of the war in 1995 were daunting and required a wide range of activities, including continuation of the humanitarian aid, rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction, the establishment of political and constitutional institutions and the return of displaced persons and refugees and elections. Due to encountered difficulties the HR’s mandate was drastically increased in 1997 at Bonn, with powers of dismissal of elected officials and imposition of laws if deemed necessary. The use of these so-called ‘Bonn powers’ made the post unpopular and did not contribute to the increase of the faith in democracy among the population. Some suggest that the Dayton framework actually slowed the transition to a workable state. However, the EU framework covering all aspects of Dayton process has moved this framework on. The Dayton solution has therefore proved flexible, and successful in preparing the country for its ‘European’ future. But progress will only be irreversible when Bosnians take responsibility for the peace process. In this context, the extraordinary powers of the HR are no longer an appropriate tool of international assistance to BiH and it was recognized in June 2006 that they must be terminated. [40] 

The country is still under threat of local hostilities, crime and corruption where institutions are not fully functioning. The end of the protectorate would not have to mean the end of the international military or civilian presence in the form of EU SR. But BiH only will be responsible for negotiating the terms and speed of their country’s entry into NATO and the European Union. [41] The current UN HR, Mr Valentin Inzko, estimates that the BiH stagnates in its way towards Euroatlantic integrations due to political elites’ self-interest and complicated state system. He launched several rounds of negotiations with domestic leaders and concluded that there is no convergence of views on certain issues to date. [42] In that perspective, Ms Ashton’s visit to the Western Balkans in February 2010 reaffirmed the continuing interest of the EU in the region, especially as the BiH is at an important moment in its political development where lack of progress, reforms and local political dialogue risks the country’s path towards EU. [43] 

When the war broke out in the beginning of the 1990s in BiH, the EU was not ready with its weak structures, poor instruments and basic disagreements among the member states on the use of military power. The Balkans were the therefore the first testing ground for the EU influence and its biggest failure. It was not until UN-intervention, NATO military action, and US-led peace negotiations that the belligerent parties stopped fighting and a peace agreement was reached at Dayton in USA in 1995. The problems then identified were mainly the cease of fire and instauration of peace in the country, while now the first priority is a functioning institutions and a viable state. It could be stated that the EU has so far not achieved this goal, as it has not decisively influence the organizing principles and rules of the game governing in the country. BiH is still divided and the EU policy has not reached societal level or changed mental structures which are the essential prerequisite for the change of political, legal, socio-economic and security structures. Even though these structures have changed due to external pressure, this coercion was not recognized as a legitimate by the population. The missing aspect is therefore the interiorization of these changes that would influence changes in mental systems, culture, value and norms. The country is still far from it.


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