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BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA

 
  
  

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,963 5,249 4,800 104
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,540 1,270 1,240 123
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 159 - (25/08/10)

Bosnia is facing elections in October. This has inspired a new initiative from Brussels, which fears that they will favour ultra-nationalist candidates, especially Serb ones.

A new order for Bosnia
Baroness Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy supremo, has drawn up a plan to take direct control of running Bosnia, with new EU powers to target Serb hardliners accused of challenging the state and blocking political reform. A confidential paper, tabled by Europe's foreign minister, has urged the creation of a powerful European envoy this autumn, based in Sarajevo, to push through a new constitutional order for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Key to the political reforms, demanded as a condition of EU entry for Bosnia, is a strengthening of a multi-ethnic federal state, mainly controlled by Muslims and Croats, at the expense of Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb government.

To overcome Serb blocking tactics, Lady Ashton is demanding that her new Bosnian envoy, part of her newly created diplomatic service, be given fresh powers by the Council of EU foreign ministers to impose travel bans and asset freezes on opponents. "In the case of non-compliance... for example challenges to fundamentals of the Bosnia and Herzegovina state, the [envoy] will be able to recommend to the EU High Representative [Lady Ashton] that Council impose travel bans and/or the freezing of assets in the EU," said the paper seen by The Daily Telegraph.

"This option should be made more accessible by a Council decision to impose a travel ban on those individuals who have challenged key provisions."

European diplomats have confirmed that the new measures will be used against "anyone deemed to be obstructive", including Milorad Dodik, the elected prime Bosnian Serb prime minister, who backs independence from Bosnia. "Dodik will not be a happy bunny; but he will have to watch his Ps and Qs," said a senior EU diplomat.

David Chandler, professor of international relations at Westminster University's centre for the study of democracy, attacked the new measures as undemocratic. "It is ironic given the EU's promotion of democracy and human rights to rely on such draconian measures that prevent free and public discussion of the way forward for Bosnia," he said.

Lady Ashton's policy paper, "Next steps in Bosnia and Herzegovina through stronger EU presence and a reinforced EU policy", sets out a plan for European officials to be take over the running of Bosnia "soon after" Bosnian elections in October. "The approach it advocates would prepare the EU to take over the leading international role in Bosnia," the document said.

Since the Dayton peace agreement in 1995 ended the Bosnian war, Bosnia has been overseen by an Office of the High Representative (OHR) charged with helping the country become a "peaceful and viable democracy on course for integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions".

The new proposals envisage taking "the mandate and functions" of the OHR into the new European diplomatic service, creating "a single EU representative", also overseeing peace keepers and a policing mission in Bosnia.
Bosnia's European envoy would report to a new "managing director" for Russia and the EU eastern neighbours, a new high-ranking post in Brussels to be appointed in Lady Ashton's diplomatic service this autumn.

Ashdown recidivus
Lord Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, has emerged as Lady Ashton's favourite for the job supervising the Bosnia envoy as part of EU's overall strategy in the Balkans.

He was criticised for running Bosnia as a "European Raj", while serving as the international community's OHR overseer of Bosnia between 2002 and 2006.

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