At the end of his term on the position of the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bruce Berton said that BiH is “stuck in a constant cycle of political turmoil caused by BiH leaders” who are insufficiently interested in the future of the country.
“BiH is stuck. Stuck in a constant cycle of political turmoil, brought on by leadership that is not interested enough in this country’s future. As a result, there is little policy debate or action regarding issues that matter to BiH’s citizens, and little progress on the path toward European integration”, Berton said.
Instead, as he said in his farewell message, leaders use degrading rhetoric and imagined crises that deepen mistrust and keep the country deadlocked. Most political energy is spent on solving crises that could have been avoided in the first place.
“It’s time to break the cycle. To break the cycle of intransigence that does not allow negotiation or compromise, resulting in the current lack of government formation. To break the cycle of leadership more concerned with themselves and their political base, at the expense of the country, its citizens and the reforms that are needed to move BiH forward. To break the cycle of patronage and corruption that undermines rule of law discourages investment, delays European integration and costs the people of BiH billions of KM. To break the cycle of focusing only on past wrongs rather than creating a brighter future. To break the cycle of believing that you owe your allegiance to a political party rather than to a country. To break the cycle of apathy and hopelessness that discourages political participation and encourages citizens to leave for other countries”, Berton stressed.
As he said, in order to change the dynamic, citizens have to stand up and demand better.
They must demand transparency and accountability from elected leaders. They also must participate in democratic processes and believe that every voice matters, and to remember that change starts with them.
“In four years I have had the opportunity to travel extensively within BiH. It is a dramatically beautiful country with wonderful people and huge potential. And away from the high-level politics, there are plenty of people, both young and old, who are willing to work together, willing to compromise, willing to act on behalf of the people they represent. People who see a brighter future and are working toward it”, Berton said./ibna