Dayton at 25
During October and November 2020 FNF organized a polling of 1529 young people in Bosnia (aged 18 to 30), which was conducted by Valicon online. The idea was to get a glimpse into the minds of young people at 25th Dayton anniversary. Some of the results from the polling are summarized below.
Democracy is generally viewed with skepticism, and young people do not hold autocratic alternatives to democracy as problematic. While on the one hand ethnic identity plays less of a role in the circle of friends, it is nevertheless quite important when choosing a residence. Young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina prefer to live in an environment where they are a majority.
Young people believe in equal opportunities but also in the return to traditional values. Around 20% think that equal opportunities and equality should not be the focus of the discussion and thus improve the life in BiH. They also agree that the current political system primarily serves ethnic elites and their interests.
There is a general aversion to the complete ethnic division of the country, even tough some 20% of the respondents do not have problem with it (note differences in the RS and the FBiH).
Overall young people believe there should be more cooperation between the levels of government, and that the municipal level should be strengthened. Respondents from RS believe in strengthening the entity, while in FBiH majority opts for strengthen the state level.
Diversity and ethnic diversity are seen as a positive quality of the country, and there is generally a will to live together and to overcome the ethnic boundaries. There are different positions regarding the Dayton Agreement yet almost 50% say the constitution is not good for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In FBiH there is a greater desire for the reform of the existing or a new constitution in the course of EU integration, than in RS. In RS, the current constitution is seen favored to alternatives. In FBiH, young people believe that constitutional changes are necessary in many different areas of life. In the RS, on the other hand, there is more skepticism about constitutional changes in almost all areas.
EU integration is seen differently in different parts of Bosnia – in the FBiH it is seen as a reform engine that also justifies constitutional changes, whereas this is not the case in the RS.
Overall, the OHR is observed with a dose of skepticism, whish is more pronounced in the RS.
Environmental protection is perceived as an important issue, but there is much less support for necessary reforms.
Overall, the Corona crisis is rated as incisive and negative. Overall, young people recognize Bosnia's problems, they are generally disillusioned, pessimistic, and not very confident about the future. They are reactive – there is a trend that speaks against the mood of departure and the will to change and there are important differences among the young people between FBiH and RS.
Results of the poll are available in German, English, and BHS.