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INFO   :::  Region > Bosnia - PAGE 1 > Christian Schwarz-Schilling: The German-British initiative for BiH has failed


Christian Schwarz-Schilling: The German-British initiative for BiH has failed

Dodik’s refusal to sign the reform agenda for Bosnia and Herzegovina means a major crisis. It also means that the German-British initiative for BiH has failed, says former High Representative Christian Schwarz-Schilling.


Jasmina Rose

June 18, 2015, Deutsche Welle



After RS President Milorad Dodik openly refused to sign the reform agenda for BiH designed to help the country prosper and advance towards the EU, and after EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn canceled his visit to Sarajevo, the country found itself in a deep crisis. “This means that the German-British initiative for BiH has failed, says former High Representative and international mediator in BiH, Christian Schwarz-Schilling.


Deutsche Welle: Mr. Schwarz-Schilling, Dodik showed his hand and clearly indicated what he does not want. What will the international community do now?

Christian Schwarz-Schilling: First, it will have to pull itself together, analyze the new situation and consider what steps to take. Because this is a major crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit, which has not yet been confirmed, will most likely be called into question. What message could she deliver now when everything the EU negotiated in BiH has collapsed? What will happen to the economy, the economic and financial development in BiH? Like the Federation, Republika Srpska is also facing bankruptcy which could come soon. It is extremely important for the EU to help the country, but this act makes it impossible. What will the people say, who had so far been quiet, after they rebelled last year on February 7? Considering all this, the question is what will happen now to BiH? The international community must understand that with its current policies it will not change anything, or that serious unrest will break out, or that the problems of this country will be passed on to the next generation.


The international community has a powerful mechanism in its hands. These are the Bonn powers. They were kept precisely because they could be used in an emergency situation. Why are the EU and the US reluctant to use them and impose the solution for BiH and its advancement towards the EU?

Don’t ask me. I wanted to use them many times when I was High Representative. I did manage to implement some, but back then there was a strong political drive in Brussels to abolish the OHR. Then it became clear that such interventions in BiH can be implemented only through the OHR, because consequently certain decision of the Security Council could also be used. Now these powers could be reactivated. Because what we have been witnessing in the last few years is an attempt to reduce the OHR authorities, up to their total ineffectiveness and inefficiency.

Right now a PIC meeting is taking place. Everyone thought that BiH politicians would sign a new European initiative, thereby putting it into effect. High Representative Inzko said two days ago: “Let’s get to work, let’s roll up our sleeves!” But that was before the disaster, before it became clear. How the PIC will react, I will find out in the evening.


How could have Dodik so openly refused to sign the reform agenda?

You would have to ask him. I believe he does not want the road to Europe. With his survival in power threatened because of the problems with the majority in his own parliament, Dodik decided obstruct the road to reform.

He couldn’t have acted any different, because this is the only way for him to shut down the European track of BiH. This all shows that in BiH he’s got completely different objectives. He still claims there was no genocide Srebrenica, that he still believes it and that he will always loudly repeated it. This is the rhetoric he is using now in 2015, 20 years after the genocide. This speaks to the fact that is intention is to obstruct. Whether this obstruction is agreed with Russia, I can’t say. Dodik was the only one who took part in the parade on May 9 in Moscow, marking the end of World War II, and he was suitably received by Putin. All this points to the fact that there is some alliance there. I’m not sure Dodik would have had the nerve to act this way otherwise, because right now Serbia is not interested in tensions with Republika Srpska in BiH, which Dodik would like, as he said, to declare independent in 2018.


Does this mean the end of the Steinmeier-Hammond initiative?

At the moment it is nothing short of the end of the British-German initiative for BiH.



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