EU – Bosnia and Herzegovina High Level Meeting on Migration

EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities and experts held today a High-Level Meeting on Migration to discuss challenges of the increased presence of migrants and refugees poses to the country and to follow up to the priorities set in the Commission Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s application for EU membership.

The meeting took stock of the implementation of the significant assistance provided by the EU to Bosnia and Herzegovina to cope with the increased presence of migrants and refugees since the beginning of 2018, which amounts to €24 million. It also looked into the specific needs in view of the upcoming winter.

The Commission welcomes the commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to strengthen their coordination in managing migration. In this context, the Commission will provide a senior expert to support the relevant coordination structures.

The Commission notes with concern that existing reception capacities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are largely insufficient. The Commission regrets that Bosnia and Herzegovina has not proposed suitable locations for additional reception facilities, in spite of the Commission’s readiness to provide the necessary financial support. The Commission urges Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to identify suitable facilities with no further delay.

The Commission takes note of the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities’ commitment to ensure effective functioning of the existing temporary reception centres and urges Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to relocate without delay migrants and refugees from the unsuitable site of Vučjak.

The Commission stresses that dignity and safety of all persons, especially the most vulnerable, need to be ensured and protected and it reiterates its appreciation for the work of the humanitarian partners whose activities must be facilitated. The Commission expresses its readiness to continue providing additional support to the affected communities.

The meeting was chaired by Mr Christian Danielsson, Director-General of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.  Ms Monique Pariat, Director-General of Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, also took part in the meeting. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s delegation was led by the Minister of Security Mr Dragan Mektić and included representatives of various levels of government, notably the Una Sana Canton.

Background

Nearly 36,000 refugees and migrants entered Bosnia and Herzegovina since January 2018, according to government estimates. Approximately 7,400 refugees and migrants in need of assistance are currently present in the country, mostly in the Una-Sana Canton. Approximately 4,100 are accommodated in EU-funded temporary reception centres.

Since 2007, the European Union has been providing assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina worth € 48.6 million in the area of migration and border management through the Instrument for pre-accession assistance. The country has also benefited from the IPA regional programme ‘Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management’ worth up to €14.5 million.

EU overall assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2018 to cope with the increased migratory presence amounts to €24 million (€20.2 million from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance and €3.8 million of humanitarian aid).  This is in addition to €24.6 million assistance the European Union has provided to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area of asylum, migration and border management since 2007.