Do Europe and HR Schmidt know what to do with BiH?

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is currently the place of a diplomatic conflict between different Western countries in terms of its future, as best evidenced by the different messages, often opposed, by their diplomatic representatives.

Last week, High Representative (HR) Christian Schmidt told at a symposium on ”Euro-Atlantic Perspective of BiH” that Zeljko Komsic was the Croat representative in BiH presidency, elected more by Bosniaks than Croats, adding that they must feel “represented” so they would not start to boycot the elections. He added that trust must be strengthened in terms of accepting the state and the entities, otherwise the Bonn powers will be used, mostly in cooperation with the United States (U.S.). Judging by what Schmidt stated, there was no talk of imposing the Election Law.

In this regard, Schmidt’s statement could be interpreted, not in the sense that there is a plan to impose the Election Law, but certainly as a form of pressure on the pro-Bosnian side to meet the HDZ, regardless of how the Office of the High Representative (OHR) tried to deny it. In the perception of the public, he has permanently taken sides, since here we are talking about principles, not personalities.

Shortly afterwards, there was an information that diplomatic circles were seriously considering imposing an Election Law that would be more in favor of the HDZ, and that they wereassessing what reactions such a decision would provoke among Bosniaks. Also, the source claimed that Inzko’s law is presented in that sense as compensation to the Bosnian side for the future, in case it is realized, unfavorable reform of the Election Law.

It looks like that the claims of the mentioned diplomat, a representative of a significant embassy, echoes of similar messages, were already released in some Croatian media in the same context on the day when Inzko’s law was passed. That is, the Election Law will be imposed, and Inzko’s law is only compensation. However, it is neglected in that sense, that Inzko, according to the information from several credible sources, made the decision on his own, despite the opposition of even the Americans.

In that sense, Inzko’s law is not compensation, but currently some European political structures are trying to present it as such and use it as an argument against the Bosnian side, in order to permanently accept the interests of Croatia and Serbia. Related to this, the information that has come down to journalists is an expression of the policy of certain European countries that side with Croatia and the HDZ. Besides, equating the importance of a law banning the denial of war crimes with the Election Law is also politically frivolous, because once you lose control of the state, Inzko’s law will be just a dead letter.

Shortly after the mentioned statement, information was released that there was a plan to retroactively limit the mandate of the members of the Presidency of BiH to two, which in practice would mean that Zeljko Komsic and Bakir Izetbegovic could no longer run for the Presidency, and according to some interpretations not even Dragan Covic, given that he had earlier started his term but had not completed it because he had been dismissed. The proposal, regardless of how it is currently interpreted by the Bosnian side, without touching the House of Peoples, would essentially mean the defeat of HDZ’s policy. The struggle is about the permanent control of the institution, and not the struggle of Covic and Komsic for the position of a member of the Presidency.

How confusing, at times contradictory, the policy of the international community is, is clear from the words of a high official of one of the important European countries, who said that the Bonn powers will not be used except in case of crisis situations, nor that anything will be imposed if  there is no agreement on the Election Law. It was also said that in that case, the elections will be held according to the existing Election Law.

If we see the international community as a monolithic bloc, then all the mentioned proposals or information that have been released in past days do not make much sense. In fact, Western countries, and even political structures within individual states, do not have a clear position on the outcome of the political game in BiH. If we take as an example Inzko’s law, on which there was definitely no agreement, it can only be assumed how much conflict there is when it comes to the Election Law. Nevertheless, it should be reminded that the negotiations on the Election Law themselves are primarily a success of Croatian diplomacy and that a great part of the political structures in Europe support the HDZ, writes.


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