Reiner Braun on USAID funding for the Sarajevo “Peace Event”

Interview Excerpt:

On the list of donors for the “Peace Event” also USAID, a U.S. Agency for International Development, can be found besides ministries. Are these the right funders?

We receive funding from several governments, Finnish and French and through the German embassy also from the Federal government. For us, this is a good use of taxpayers’ money. And we welcome it – in the sense of the Basic Law -, that the Federal government was willing to finance an event, on which’s contents it didn’t have any influence. The question remains: Is most of the money of the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation not also government money?

And the funds of USAID, which is strongly integrated into the Security Strategy of the United States and is criticized, even to be engaged in espionage, to boost the privatization of public sectors in recipient countries?

All active peace groups here and many civil society activists groups in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the other parts of former Yugoslavia live from the financial support they receive from USAID or the EU. If we want to work with them, we have to accept that. Parts of the funds these groups received poured into financing for example over printing cost subsidy. In the spirit of transparency we have also named that. We did not get any direct donation. However, I totally agree on the substantive criticism on USAID.

So the debate on this is thus not over?

The discussion already existed during preparation. Each and everyone has been aware of this support. But the independence of the “Peace-Event” is guaranteed from the first up to the last moment. There are two committees; both bear the sole responsibility for the program.