The European Union has been supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Una Sana Canton, in the management of the ongoing migration situation. Today, EU officials visited Bihać and met with the Prime Minister of Una Sana Canton and the mayor of Bihac.
“The European Union is here to help and has been helping throughout this migration crisis. We have provided €36 million for the migration management and have held intensive dialogue with all relevant authorities to find sustainable solutions. Our visit comes at a very critical time: dignified accommodation for all migrants must be ensured” said Michela Matuella, Head of Unit for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission.
“The European Commission is very concerned about the humanitarian situation in BiH, especially in Una Sana canton, at the onset of winter, with a large number of migrants and refugees sleeping outside reception facilities and a large number of them residing in Vucjak camp in conditions that are not in line with international standards and are unacceptable,” noted Martin Taschner, Head of Unit at Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
In spite of all the EU support, the situation remains very concerning. Substantial funds, in the range of €18 million, could not be utilised so far because the BiH authorities have not identified new suitable reception centres. The identification of two new centres last week in Sarajevo and Tuzla Cantons is a positive development and the EU expects, once operational, those centres will relieve the pressure from Una Sana Canton.
The European Union has also provided a direct support to the citizens of Bihac, by upgrading its obsolete city lighting system. This ongoing project, worth €600,000, will significantly improve public safety and comfort, in addition to enhancing energy efficiency and savings for the administration.
The EU officials visited the reception centres of Borići, Sedra and Bira. They also paid a visit to the site of Vucjak and urged its immediate closure.