A damning report published last week by the International Commission on the Balkans has slammed United Nations and European Union peacekeeping in Bosnia and Kosovo.
After US military interventions there in 1995 and 1999, the UN has run both provinces as “protectorates”. And with the US embroiled in Iraq, EU troops have increasingly taken over peacekeeping operations.
The report says the provinces are in fact under “neo-colonial rule” with no real accountability to the people who live there. It calls for the abolition of the “coercive authority” of Bosnia’s High Representative, currently Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader.
One of the great scandals of recent years is that Ashdown has regularly sacked democratically elected politicians.
The report also says that ethnic tolerance between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo only exists “in the bureaucratic assessments of the international community”.
Dealing with economics, the report states that Balkan markets are “small and unattractive” and need foreign investors. But it is this market based approach that has failed so miserably in the past.
The report concludes that the Balkans should be fast-tracked into the EU and NATO. This would only replace one type of neo-colonial rule with another.