Bosnia Not Ready to Close the OHR

The former international community’s administrator in Bosnia, Christian Schwarz-Schilling said he would not speculate on the appointment of a new High Representative, overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the 1992-1995 war in the country, but that he would welcome German politician Christian Schmidt’s appointment in Office. 

“I can only say I’d be very happy to see Christian Schmidt as the new High Representative. He’s a good politician and I’ve known him for a long time – he’s an expert. He also knows BiH so why not”, Schwarz-Schilling said. 

He noted this would be a positive sign that Germany is maintaining an active engagement in Bosnia especially now when it is getting a strong partner who is also a great friend of BiH – Joe Biden as US President. 

Commenting on the previous work of the Office of the High Representative (OHR), he said when he came to office, the goal was to close the OHR and to hand over the entire management over the country to local politicians but their objections to necessary reforms proved BiH was not ready to function without the OHR. 

“I can’t say I blame the OHR. I know that Valentin Inzko wanted to do more. The OHR is the hostage of international politics. The EUFOR is much smaller, the OHR is getting smaller but Bosnia’s achievements on its EU accession path are also getting smaller. This can’t go on”, Christian Schwarz-Schilling warned adding that the OHR must stay in Bosnia because it is the one institution that can regulate many of the existing issues legally. 

According to the opinion of the former High Representative, Bosnia needs to amend its Constitution properly and it needs to make all the citizens equal before the law and make the state functional so it can enter the EU. The current Constitution can only push the country backward, he concluded.

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