Peter Sørensen, a Dane, has been appointed the European Union’s new ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The appointment was announced by Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, today (30 May), almost a year after the departure of the previous ambassador.
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Sørensen was appointed head of the EU’s delegation in Skopje, Macedonia, only last September, and took up that post in March. His new appointment has surprised many diplomats. Dominic Asquith, the British ambassador in Cairo, and Joachim Rücker, Germany’s ambassador in Stockholm and previously chief of the United Nations in Kosovo, were understood to be candidates for the post.
“I can think of no one better qualified to take over this enhanced role of head of delegation,” Ashton said. Sørensen has served in the Western Balkans for 15 years. Before his appointment as EU ambassador to Macedonia, he was the personal envoy of the EU’s foreign policy chief in Belgrade, in 2006-10.
He is now expected to be appointed EU Special Representative in Bosnia, in line with a decision by member states’ foreign ministers in March to separate the EUSR position from that of international high representative. Currently, Valentin Inzko, an Austrian diplomat, serves in both functions. The re-arrangement is supposed to upgrade the EU’s presence in Bosnia at a time of political stalemate, in the expectation that the Office of the High Representative will close later this year or in 2012.
The post of EU ambassador in Sarajevo had been vacant since last July, when Dimitris Kourkoulas became a director in the European Commission’s enlargement department.