Bosnian people must 'peacefully' hold their politicians to account

Price of 'political impasse' being paid by Bosnian people, writes Sarah Ludford.

By Sarah Ludford MEP

20 Feb 2014

The recent resolution adopted by the European parliament in response to the European commission's 2013 Bosnia-Herzegovina progress report reflects the widespread frustration among MEPs at the lack of progress made by the Bosnian authorities over the last year and I fully share this feeling.

The continuing failure to fully develop many of the features of a modern functioning state, such as an efficient administration, independent courts, a free and lively press and effective regulations, is not only undermining democracy and the rule of law, but also sabotaging economic development.

This is compounded by continuing corruption and the big threat from organised crime and money laundering. The resultant toxic mix includes an unacceptably high unemployment rate, deterrence to foreign investment, and the loss of millions of euros in EU pre-accession grants.

[pullquote]The price of the political impasse and economic stagnation is being paid by the Bosnian people[/pullquote].

The recent news of thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets of Sarajevo and other cities to protest against the government's record comes as no surprise, although I utterly deplore the violence including the tragic and inexcusable loss of historical archives.

I want the Bosnian people to hold their politicians to account, but it must be done through peaceful protest and the ballot box.