Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bosnia Moving

Prior to the 10th anniversary of the Dayton Agreement, US representatives were telling everyone in sight that a major new constitutional deal was going to be signed in Washington at that occasion.

Out of that came very little. A short paper that could be interpreted as either everything or nothing was eventually signed. The grandiose initiative didn't end to grand.

But at the least talks continued, as had been agreed, and has now evidently resulted in something. Without having seen the text it's difficult to judge it in detail, but to me it seems as if it represents a sensible small step forward.

American representatives are disappointed, but the European Commission representative is more positive:

"If everything which was agreed with regard to the Council of Ministers was implemented, Bosnia and Herzegovina will get a strong and functioning government with a full responsibility for the European integration process."

That's not bad.

In discussions on these issues I often stress two points:

The first is that most things that is needed as part of the European integration process can be achieved within the broad framework of the existing constitution. Some evolution is called for - not rvolution.

The second is that I'm afraid of the politicians of Bosnia spending too much time quarrelling over constitutional issues and too little time adressing the fundamental economic and social issues.

At the end of theday, it is on the economic and social issues they will be judged.

So - in spite of the negative headlines - it might have been a good day for Bosnia. "