Could it be the Ukraine effect?
After months of protesters clashing in the streets of Kiev, Bosnia and Herzegovina is seeing some of its worst violence and unrest since the war two decades ago.
Across the country, including its capital Sarajevo, demonstrators have taken to the streets, setting fire to government buildings, trashing libraries and torching vehicles; all this in protest of high unemployment, unpaid wages and government corruption and incompetence.
Few people know Bosnia better than Lord Paddy Ashdown, who served as High Representative and Europe’s Special Envoy to the country from May 2002 until January 2006.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Lord Ashdown says the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is “highly fragile” and that the European Union needs to do more to help build Bosnians build a functional state that can serve its citizens.
Speaking of the Dayton Accord that ended the war, he says it was an ideal solution to bring about peace, but that it is the “wrong basis to build a sustainable state”.
The good news, Ashdown told Amanpour, is that the protests are “non-ethnic” and that protesters are “turning against a political clique who have governed the country”, who are “deep in corruption”.
But there is bad news too: “At the moment its citizens are complaining about poverty and lack of movement and dysfunctionality of the state and corruptions amongst politicians”, but he says it “could move to something far worse very quickly”.
“The international community has to act now. If they don’t act now, I greatly fear that a situation where secessionism will take hold could easily become unstoppable as we approach elections…”
Click above to watch Amanpour’s full interview with Lord Paddy Ashdown.