German politician Christian Schmidt is the only one who currently appears as a possible successor to Valentin Inzko at the position of High Representative, but it is possible that this function will belong to someone else, or that even Inzko will remain in office despite the expiration of his term.
As Belgrade’s Dnevni list Danas writes, the newspaper’s interlocutors emphasize that the appointment of Schmidt, the Christian Social Union (CSU) representative, has already been opposed by Russians and Serbian member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Milorad Dodik, and that official Berlin’s attention is largely focused on the September parliamentary elections, so the events happening in Balkans stay ”in the background”.
The German parliament has officially supported Christian Schmidt’s candidacy for High Representative in BiH, and it is speculated that the “green light” for his candidacy was also given by the administration of the President of the United States (U.S.), Joe Biden.
“Resistance of the Republika Srpska (RS) is just one of the problems regarding the election of Inzko’s successor. Serbs in BiH have no official role in such an appointment, but, no doubt, Europeans will consider their position, which is opposition not only to Schmidt but also to the function of the High Representative. In order for the new High Representative to have authority at all, he must first be widely accepted. Thus, Europeans are alarmed by the threats from Banja Luka of some kind of revenge, especially given the repeated stories of possible secession,” newspaper Danas wrote, citing an unnamed source from Berlin.
What further complicates the whole process is the disagreement on the international scene – the relationship between Russia, on the one hand, and the West (the U.S. and the European Union: EU), whose interests in BiH differ greatly.
“In the past, these foreign policy players have always sought to agree on an appointment so that the High Representative could have authority on behalf of the entire international community. However, this time there is no consensus, and there is a clear danger that Russia will block the mentioned appointment. Taking everything into account, the possibility that Inzko will remain in office after the collapse of the negotiations on the candidate should not be ruled out,” the Danas source specified.
According to some diplomats, if the scenario of “retaining veteran” Inzko comes true, “he will be even weaker than before because he unequivocally stated that he no longer wants to perform that job.”
“Therefore, the only solution remains to find a third candidate for the High Representative, but given the drama that is taking place in the context of Schmidt, the question is who would agree to such candidacy,” as the interlocutor from Berlin explained.
Franz-Lothar Altmann, a German university professor and expert on the Western Balkans, stresses that “political discussions in Germany these days are focused on the fight for who will be the candidate for the new chancellor if the CDU/CSU coalition wins the election.”
“So, it is possible that BiH and the High Representative will be discussed on the sidelines. Christian Schmidt is an experienced politician, especially in matters concerning international relations, and he could be the right person to re-strengthen the role of the High Representative in BiH, but I expect Russia to continue to oppose his appointment because Moscow does not want more intense activity by the High Representative. If the international community is not represented by a strong figure, BiH will eventually separate. Jansa, the Prime Minister of Slovenia who stands for ethnically homogeneous states. However, in the Balkans, completely ethnically homogeneous states will remain just an illusion, and Slovenia is almost the only example of that,” told Altmann, Klix