The Sarajevo City Council has decided to award Christian Schwarz-Schilling as the “Honorary Citizen of the City of Sarajevo” award, a man who has fought for the preservation of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1993 and is still fighting for its integrity.
As stated, Schwarz-Schilling fought for military intervention and for Germany’s active participation in NATO actions in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, as well as lifting the unjust arms embargo imposed on BiH, organized demonstrations, assistance and visited Sarajevo during the war years, sought ways to free Sarajevo from the siege.
In personal contact with the world’s leading politicians in Europe and in America, he spread the truth about the war in BiH.
Christian Schwarz-Schilling (born 19 November 1930 in Innsbruck, Austria), is an Austrian-born German politician, entrepreneur, philanthropist and media and telecommunications innovator who served as the 5th High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1 February 2006 until 30 June 2007 and as the 2nd European Union Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina during the same period.
During this period he began to form an interest in regional politics, joining the Christian Democratic Union in 1960. In 1964, he joined the regional board of the CDU in Hesse. In 1966, Schwarz-Schilling was elected into the regional parliament of Hesse and in 1967 he became the general secretary of the CDU in Hesse. Since 1971, Schwarz-Schilling became involved in national politics, becoming member of several councils. In 1976 Schwarz-Schilling was elected into the Bundestag and remained a member until 2002. During this time he served as the vice-chairman of the Small Business Union of the CDU/CSU between 1977 and 1997. In 1979, he became president of the Executive Bureau of the European Small Business Union, which he left in 1982. Between 1981 and 1982, he was chairperson of the Research Committee on New Information and Communication Technology of the Bundestag furthering innovative communications technology.
In 1982, he was appointed Federal Minister for Post and Communication, in the first cabinet Kohl. Before his appointment, he was He retained his post for the next three cabinets Kohl, Schwarz-Schilling was never part of Kohl’s inner circle and is, by some, regarded as unremarkable minister. Others see him as cabinet minister who pursued a long-term strategy of modernisation and actually got things done. Under his ministry cable television was introduced in Germany and commercial television was allowed to broadcast. Deutsche Post was privatised, including its Telecom business. Schwarz-Schilling also introduced GSM nationwide. By the time he left office, Germany had one of the most modern communications infrastructures in the world.
In 1992, Schwarz-Schilling resigned his post in anger at Germany’s inaction over atrocities in the then Yugoslavia — rebuffing Chancellor Kohl’s protestations that Germany’s post-war constitution barred it from stepping in. He told the Chancellor he was “ashamed” to belong to such a government, saying he had entered politics in the first place to ensure that atrocities like those perpetrated by the Nazis “never happen again.” The Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung later commented that “most notable act in office was leaving it”.
As Yugoslavia lurched into chaos, Schwarz-Schilling began to try to mediate between the factions — a role later formalised in the Washington agreement of 1994, and which he held until 2004.
During and after the war, Schwarz-Schilling travelled around the country, trying to resolve disputes and later overseeing the return of some of the 2.2 million refugees — half the population — created by the conflict.
In 1995, he became chairperson of the sub-committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid. In 1998 the sub-committee became a full committee and Schwarz-Schilling became its vice-chairperson, serving until 2002.