Former B&H High Representative Paddy Ashdown on Visit to B&H: B&H is in Worse Situation Now Than in 2006

Former B&H High Representative Paddy Ashdown on Visit to B&H: B&H is in Worse Situation Now Than in 2006


By Medina Malagic – Sarajevo

After the break up of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the map of Europe once again witnessed the redrawing of borders. With new borders, the emergence of national identities that had formerly been under the rule of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany, all these events seemed to entrench the idea that the map of Europe afterwards would not be redrawn. It was the idea that the new borders are here to stay, representing the justifiable right to self-determination of people under oppressive rule, and that the establishment of the European Union with this current name in 1993 would be the key for the fostering of stability and prosperity in Europe.

It is now 2014, and the Crimea region of Ukraine has declared its independence from the Ukraine a few days ago, and Putin has just accepted a draft bill that would enable Russia to annex the Crimea region. A new border on the continent of Europe might be redrawn soon, and the question that inevitably arises on the issue of self-determination is whether this will have a domino effect.

The events in Crimea have transpired amidst the arrival of former High Representative to B&H Paddy Ashdown to B&H, who has linked the events in Crimes and Russia’s meddling with the potential negative repercussions this could have for B&H. Upon his arrival to Sarajevo today, Lord Paddy Ashdown has said that there are some politicians in B&H who are acting in the same manner as some Russian politicians, and warned that if the EU does not take a proactive approach in B&H, the consequences could be dire.

Lord Paddy Ashdown was the High Representative of B&H from 2000 to 2006, and is in Sarajevo today to take part in the Rose Roth Seminar whose topic is ‘Security and Democratization in South East Europe: Strengthening Stability and Promoting Reform’.

As part of his statements, he made sure to highlight that he is not directly comparing the Ukraine and B&H, but that it would be a shame to have B&H drawn into the broader framework of the talks on the situation in the Ukraine and the resulting referendum in Crimea, in the context of the secession of the RS from B&H.

Lord Ashdown said what many have been voicing for years: that the Dayton Agreement that institutionalized the current political setup of the country is simply not functional. Not only is B&H decentralized, but also it is also not functional.

Commenting on the role of the international community in B&H, Lord Ashdown said: ‘’They realize in Brussels that they did not take enough responsibility in B&H, where the central problem is that it is dysfunctional. During my mandate, I warned of the sort of withdrawal of the international community when it comes to engagement in B&H, which is now confirmed as bad because we have a situation today that is worse than it was ten years ago’’, said Lord Paddy Ashdown.

However, he said that even though the international community bears some responsibility for the situation in B&H, the ultimate bearers of responsibility are with B&H politicians. The international community, according to him, started to withdraw from B&H at the wrong time, and that the repercussions of that can be seen years later, where B&H continues to be in a political, social and economic stalemate.