EU commissioner tells Bosnia to manage migration better

Commissioner Ylva Johansson in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 18 February 2021. [Twitter account of Ylva Johansson]

The European Union’s migration commissioner Ylva Johansson urged Bosnia on Thursday (18 February) to manage migration properly and share the burden of its migrant crisis equally across the country if it is to stay on course for EU membership.

About 9,000 migrants from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa have been stuck in the Balkan country on their way to wealthier European countries. Most of them are concentrated in the northwest corner of Bosnia, close to the Croatian border, and in the capital Sarajevo.

“The migration area is one of the 14 priority areas that need to be addressed to have a future together with the European Union, and we see the need for better burden sharing,” Johansson said.

She was speaking during a tour of a reception camp for migrants in Lipa, northwest Bosnia, close to the Croatian border.

The camp recently reopened after it was set on fire in late December and had to close, leaving more than a thousand people to sleep in freezing conditions in abandoned houses and camp tents in forests over the winter months.

Migrants in limbo in Bosnia after camp fire

A thousand migrants from a burned-out camp were in limbo in Bosnia on Thursday (31 December), struggling with freezing temperatures and snow as efforts by local authorities to re-house them sparked protests from locals.

During her visit, Johansson praised local efforts to rebuild the Lipa camp but underlined that she came with “a strong message of the need for managing migration properly”.

“Migration is not something that will end, migration is something that always has been here (in the EU) and always will be here,” Johansson said.

Since early 2018 the EU has provided more than €88 million to help Bosnia manage the migrant crisis.

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