Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone

By John Yarwood Mbe; Andreas Seebacher et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
Conclusions
The first purpose of this book has been to record what the EUAM was, what it did and how it did it. The second purpose was to draw some lessons from its successes and its failures. Various lessons have been suggested in earlier chapters but, by way of a conclusion, four especially fundamental points will now be explored. These are as follows:
the need to enhance the technical and managerial capabilities of the European Commission in relation to the type of mission it undertook in Bosnia;
the importance of creating sustainable institutions for urban management and finance;
the need to emphasise ‘bottom-up’ pragmatic/technical measures as well as ‘top-down’ idealistic/political measures in pursuing the goals of political stabilisation; and
the importance of grasping the psychological and cultural perspective of the local parties and the need to base tactics upon the possibilities inherent in that, rather than upon the ideals or preconceptions of Europe (given that the power or will to force the issue was lacking).

These points obviously overlap and interlock, and that is reflected in the discussion.


The Commission's Role

When the EU set up its Mostar project, it took some excellent decisions. It created a self-sufficient and integrated task force permanently on the ground. This was given a strong leader, and the EU delegated all matters of importance, including contractual and financial decisions. In Chapter 3, I described this as the ‘Mostar model’ It had never been done before by Brussels and has not been repeated since. There were defects, which are reviewed below, but the Mostar principles should be used again because (a) the defects can be rectified easily and (b) the alternativenamely a Commission delegation—has not succeeded in Bosnia as a whole and is unlikely to do so in similar situations elsewhere. These two reasons are considered in turn.

First, the defects are considered together with their means of correction. There

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