A key question popping up in 2011 will very likely continue to shape policy discussions and debates in the Western Balkans in 2012: why doesn’t the “magnetic pull” of Europe seem to be resulting in reform and progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina? The “transformative power” thesis that grounds the European Union’s engagements in pre-accession countries is predicated on the assumption that the promised riches of membership will drive domestic leaders in any EU-hopeful country to align their country’s policies and practices with the norms required by the Club. The wave of accession over the past decade is used as an illustration of the success of this model. Poland, Hungary and Malta benefitted from the technical rigors of EU accession preparation, followed not so long after by even Bulgaria and Romania. Surely this process promotes and results in the political, social and economic change desired to preserve and expand the European experiment, and to move towards an “ever closer union.”
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