Bosnian Crisis

Bosnian Crisis in Europe

Description of Bosnian crisis

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes bosnian crisis in the following terms: [1] The break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s led to declarations of independence by Slovenia and Croatia and growing nationalist aggression by Serbia, which had inherited most of the Yugoslav army’s weaponry. In 1991 Germany recognised Slovenia and Croatia, forcing the EU to follow suit in 1992. Bosnia’s independence was recognised immediately afterwards, but that country (with a mainly Muslim and Croatian population) contained a large Serbian minority, and fighting broke out. Assisted by Serbia, which had also intervened militarily in Croatia, the Bosnian Serbs took advantage of a Western arms embargo to terrorise the country, besieging its capital Sarajevo.

While the EU attempted to broker a peace process, the Serbs embarked on the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Bosnia’s Muslims. This led to atrocities on both sides, but British and French reluctance to appear partial, allied to Germany’s paralysis (doubtless the legacy of the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia during World War II), left the Serbs free to commit genocide unhindered. A smattering of United Nations peacekeeping forces soon became more of a hostage than an effective military presence, and it was not until the USA lost patience and organised NATO bombing of Serbian positions in 1995 that a modicum of order was restored.

A partitioned Bosnia currently enjoys an uneasy peace (see more in this European encyclopedia). But the ineffectiveness of the EU has left a lasting impression of weakness and expediency, and gives the lie to the notion that Europe is yet capable of responding in a unified way to external crisis. (See also Yugoslavia and Common Foreign and Security Policy.)

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Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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