BiH’s Security Minister: “We expect an Escalation of Problems with Migrants”

March 8, 2019 6:00 PM

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) expects an increased number of migrants on the so-called Balkan route on their path towards the EU, BiH’s Security Minister Dragan Mektic said in an interview for AFP.

Last year, around 25,000 migrants from the Middle East, North Africa and Asia went through BiH hoping to enter the EU through neighboring Croatia, a member of the bloc, Mektic said, adding that the EU failed to address the growing crisis.

“We expect an escalation of migrant problems, not just in BiH, but along that route,” Mektic said.

According to him, information from official institutions, including European, tells that about 70,000 migrants, now in Greece, are moving towards Western Europe.

“This is not just BiH’s problem, we want to be part of the European solution, but the EU cannot agree on solutions. This illegal migration is simply allowed to continue, “Mektic said.

He said that BiH, poor and paralyzed by the fragmented authorities, does not have the economic or political capacity to support a large inflow of migrants.

Last year the EU allocated some 9.2 million euros ($10.3 million) to help Bosnia set up migrant reception centres with a current capacity of 4,500 people.

The centres helped stave off a humanitarian crisis as temperatures plunged over winter, as migrants were previously living in tents and other ramshackle sites in the country.

On Thursday Bosnia’s Ministry of Security announced its intention to “close completely” the 600-kilometre (400-mile) border with Serbia and Montenegro in the east by deploying more police.

The country is also considering an offer from Hungary to send some police to assist with border patrol, Mektic said.

 

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