Commenting on media reports that, due to the uncontrolled entry of illegal migrants from the Republic of Turkey into the EU, BiH is expected to accept as many as 10,000 migrants, BiH Security Minister Fahrudin Radončić replied that the public and the European partners should know that this was too much for Bosnia and Herzegovina, its citizens and its security, humanitarian and accommodation facilities to handle.
“Earlier, I informed all EU ambassadors in BiH that 5,000 illegal migrants would be very difficult to manage. I did not even want to talk about accepting the quota of 10,000 migrants”, Radončić posted on Instagram.
He adds that he met Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples of BiH Bakir Izetbegović and Chairman of the BiH Presidency Željko Komšić and briefed them on the issue.
“Some cantons in BiH are already tired of the burden of intercontinental resettlement falling on their shoulders. Not to mention that, since the first migrant crisis of 2015, nothing has been systematically done in Bosnia and Herzegovina to learn lessons, innovate laws, increase budgets, hire a much larger number of border guards and further help BiH to become fully autonomous in managing the security and humanitarian aspects of the migrant crisis”, said Radončić.
He added that the EU must not sacrifice BiH and other neighbouring countries in order to create a huge space for a subtle selection of migrants.
“Regardless of the fact that somebody sleeps over the ministerial mandates, the EU must not sacrifice our state and other neighbouring countries in an attempt to create in BiH a massive space for the subtle selection and settlement of able-bodied migrants whom some EU countries need to join their workforce; those of “poor quality”, those who are sick, those with a troubled past and a criminal record, which traffickers eventually want to dump on us”, says the Security Minister.
The chief of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in BiH Peter Van der Auweraert told N1 on Monday that the European Union and the Western Balkans must act together to find a solution to the migration issue, which the region is more likely to face now after Turkey opened its borders allowing the refugees to enter Europe.
He believes BiH could expect an even larger number of migrants using the country as a route to their final destination in the European Union compared to the previous years.
“It depends on the number of those who manage to reach Croatia. What is concerning is the fact that Croatia is strengthening its border control, which means that the number of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina could go up. It means there could be up to 10,000 migrants staying here on a daily basis. The solution cannot come from Bosnia and Herzegovina”, he said.
Commenting on the security and humanitarian aspects of the migrant crisis, Van der Auweraert said those were closely related.
“If you wish to safeguard the safety of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, then humanitarian conditions for the migrants must be secured. This means that, if you wish to control the migrants during their stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the easiest way to do that is by allocating them in centres managed by the state instead of letting them sleep in abandoned buildings”, he argued.
The Republic of Srpska President Željka Cvijanović believes that BiH could go through a rough patch when it comes to the migrant crisis and that it was critical that the countries of the region try to solve the problems by working closer together.
“Unfortunately, the agreement the EU had with Turkey failed for various reasons. We can feel bad about this, but the problem remains whether this area will turn into a hospital for immigrants. Europe has closed some borders and some others, through which they have come across, it kept open and that is a problem. We have seen reactions from Greece and there will be many issues. It should be a reminder to everyone in the region that we must work closely together”, Cvijanović told reporters in Banja Luka.
She believes that there is still no awareness in BiH regarding the real danger of a migrant crisis and what it means for its citizens, as well as for Europe.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency member Milorad Dodik notes in a letter to the President of the Hellenic Republic and the Greek Prime Minister that “by protecting its own borders, Greece is also protecting the borders of the Balkans and the European Union”.
“By protecting the borders of Greece, you altogether protect not only the borders of the European Union but also the borders of the entire Balkan region. Illegal immigration brings along a number of humanitarian and security challenges, and our joint resolute actions are the only way to respond in an adequate manner”, Dodik notes.
The Presidency member thanked Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Prokopios Pavlopoulos for everything they have done to promote peace and stability in the Balkans.
“The Greek and Serb people share an unbreakable bond from the past which comes out in the most challenging times through mutual understanding, respect and solidarity”, he stressed. /ibna