Reply by EU Ambassador Johann Sattler to open letter of 15 November 2019

Feministički antimilitaristički kolektiv

Volonteri BiH

Inicijativa Jer me se tiče


To whom it may concern:

Thank you for your open letter of 15 November 2019, regarding the use of EU funding and your concerns over militarisation of police in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). I appreciate your heartfelt and open engagement on this important issue.

I would like to clarify that priorities of EU assistance towards coping with migration challenges in BiH include the provision of the humanitarian assistance, accommodation, food, clothing, utilities, medical assistance, education, child protection services, and so on.

Out of €36 million of the EU assistance provided since early 2018, almost 94% has been spent on caring for the migrants, including setting up and managing five temporary reception centres (Usivak, Borici, Bira, Miral and Sedra). The remaining 6% has been used to help BiH strengthen its migration management capacities.

We expect all the authorities in the country to work together in good faith to find ways for burden sharing and sustainable solutions for migration-related issues.

An example of this is the recent decision of the BiH authorities to allocate two additional facilities for reception of migrants outside of the Una Sana Canton. This decision will unburden the pressure of the authorities of Bihac and USC that have been shouldering migration flow so far. This should also lead to speedy closure of the Vucjak site.

The EU’s engagement in helping find sustainable and acceptable solutions for all will continue, in dialogue and close consultation with the BiH authorities.

It is unquestionable that measures at the EU’s external borders, including Croatia’s border with BiH, must be proportionate and must comply with the respect of fundamental rights and the rights resulting from the EU asylum acquis, in particular the non-refoulement principle. The European Commission is also in contact with Croatia’s authorities concerning the implementation of the Common European Asylum System.

With regard to policing in BiH, the functioning of law enforcement agencies in BiH is important for BiH’s EU integration. This has been confirmed in the Commission Opinion on BiH’s EU membership application, which pointed to law enforcement agencies being fragmented and vulnerable to undue political interference.

The EU is committed to support the police structures in BiH to strengthen cooperation, coordination and efficiency to meet the needs and expectations of the BiH citizens in line with EU and international standards.

We stand ready to offer our full support and remain open to engaging in discussions with civil society actors, all with a view to our policy objective of ensuring a stable, peaceful and united BiH.


Ambassador Johann Sattler,

EU Special Representative and Head of EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina