Bridge over Troubled Waters: The Pelješac Project, China, and the Implications for Good-neighbourly Relations and the EU

Original scientific paper

Thomas Bickl

Fulltext: english, pdf (698 KB) pages 50-78 cite

This single-case study seeks, first, to analyse the Pelješac bridge project’s EU dimension, and the impact on the bilateral relations between Croatia and Bosnia- Herzegovina. The bridge is part of the so-called Road Connection to South Dalmatia, an infrastructure project linking the southern exclave of Croatia with the rest of the country. This article is going to reconstruct the considerable controversy between Sarajevo and Zagreb over the project. Second, this piece of research aims at highlighting the context of the bridge being built by a State-owned Chinese company and why the EU has been paralysed over the question of third-country bidders in national EU-wide public tenders. Lastly, this paper presents a recommendation on how the problem of maritime access to and from the territorial waters of Bosnia-Herzegovina through Croatian internal waters can be solved. The article demonstrates that the three issues of controversy related to the Pelješac bridge project can and must be unbundled to arrive at sustainable solutions for the region as a whole. The method employed in this article is process-tracing covering the period between 1999 and today based on interviews, documents, and secondary literature.

Croatia; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Public Procurement; EU Enlargement; China

Hrčak ID: 235361