Executive Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS) for Western Europe, Western Balkans, and Turkey,Angelina Eichhorst arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to participate in a new round of talks on amending the Constitution of BiH and the Election Law, together with Matthew Palmer, a representative from the United States (U.S.).
In 2018, Eichhorst and Palmer also participated in the process of negotiations on changes to the Election Law related to the implementation of the Ljubic verdict. To recall, the issue of filling the House of Peoples of the Federation was considered back then.
In June 2018, Palmer and Eichhorst, together with the then U.S.and European Union (EU) Ambassadors, Maureen Cormack and Lars Gunnar Wiegemark, organized meetings of political parties to discuss a solution.
Similar to today, there was also pressure on pro-Bosnian political parties, primarily the SDP, SDA, and DF, to give in to demands from the HDZ, which called for an end to the practice of all cantons giving delegates to the Croat Caucus, so that delegates in that Caucus are given only by cantons with a Croatian majority.
Lessons from 2018
Eichhorst then learned a lesson, realizing that a solution, which suits the HDZ, could not be insisted on if the pro-Bosnian parties were united as one. That is why she insisted that the situation from 2018 not be repeated, and, as indicated in Palmer’s non-paper, it was of the utmost importance to isolate SDP and NS from SDA and DF and reduce the format of negotiations to Covic and Izetbegovic.
The role of Croatia
There is information that Eichhorst is also under strong pressure from the representatives of the Republic of Croatia in the European Commission and the European Parliament, but the key factor in her adherence to the HDZ is actually a conformist approach, given that pro-Bosnian forces cannot give her a headache in Brussels since, unlike Zagreb, they do not participate in European institutions.
Territorial exchange and the case of Kosovo
Eichhorst, along with Richard Grenell and Palmer, was one of the main creators of the proposal on the exchange of territory between Serbia and Kosovo, according to the ethnic principle. At the time, Donald Trump‘s administration supported such a proposal. It was recently confirmed by German analyst Bodo Weber.
At a crucial moment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined in, convening a meeting together with French President Emmanuel Macron with the leaders of the Western Balkan countries. It was then clearly noted that there could be no change of borders on ethnic grounds, and Angela Merkel’s initiative prevented a plan to exchange territory.