Baroness Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has drawn up a secret plan to take direct control of running Bosnia with new European Union powers to target Serb hardliners accused of challenging the state and blocking political reform.
A confidential paper, tabled by Europe's foreign minister this week, has urged the creation of a powerful European envoy this autumn, based in Sarajevo, to push through a new constitutional order for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Key to the political reforms, demanded as a condition of EU entry for Bosnia, is a strengthening of a multi-ethnic federal state, mainly controlled by Muslims and Croats, at the expense of Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb government.
To overcome Serb blocking tactics, Lady Ashton is demanding that her new Bosnian envoy, part of her newly created diplomatic service, be given new powers by the Council of EU foreign ministers to impose travel bans and asset freezes on opponents. European diplomats have confirmed that the new measures will be used against "anyone deemed to be obstructive", including Milorad Dodik, the elected Bosnian Serb prime minister, who backs independence from Bosnia.
David Chandler, professor of international relations at Westminster University's centre for the study of democracy, attacked the new measure as undemocratic.
"It is ironic given the EU's promotion of democracy and human rights to rely on such draconian measures that prevent free and public discussion of the way forward for Bosnia," he said.
Bosnia's European envoy would report to a new 'managing director' for Russia and the EU eastern neighbours, a new high-ranking post in Brussels to be appointed in Lady Ashton's diplomatic service this autumn. Lord Ashdown, the former leader of the LidDems, has emerged as Lady Ashton's favourite for the job supervising the Bosnia envoy as part of the EU's overall strategy in the Balkans.
Who said democracy isn't dying? The more I read about the tactics of the unelected hordes in Europe, the more I see any chance of Scotland becoming an independent nation slipping into oblivion. Yet the SNP want to be part of the EU. Yes I'm aware the politics in Bosnia differ greatly to those here, but the principle remains the same. The EU are the masters whether we like it or not.