On 03.02 in Zagreb a meeting was held between the Croatian Interior minister Davor Bozinovic and Bosnian Security minister Fahrudin Radoncic, dedicated to illegal migration.
“This isn’t a refugee crisis any more, because we’re seeing an increased number of migrants from Pakistan who want to live in the EU. We have a situation where they enter the EU via Greece and then come to us. Bosnia can’t guarantee the safety conditions for EU member states because our agencies don’t have such capacity. We got a large number of migrants whose identity is yet to be determined”, Radoncic said.
He asked Croatia to lobby in the EU for the migrant crisis to start being viewed as a security crisis, rather than a humanitarian one. Radoncic underlined that 93% of the total aid Bosnia receives from the EU is of humanitarian aspect, while only 7 refers to the security aspect of the crisis.
Bozinovic said that “the information provided by the Bosnian minister is very interesting, because Croatia now chairs the Council of the EU. As an EU member state, we are very interested in raising the issue of the migrant route spanning from Greece, via Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and then heading to other EU states”. He assured that Croatia will also raise the issue on one of Council’s sessions, emphasizing the issue of human smuggling. “We can’t let smugglers have better cooperation than we do, whose agencies are not cooperating on the same level as traffickers”, he noted.
When it comes to helping BiH, Bozinovic said that after the meeting, he will advocate for the EU funds to be redirected to strengthening its security capacities.
“Bosnia finds it exceptionally important that Croatian border is absolutely impenetrable for illegal migrants for security and other reasons”, underlined Radoncic. “Not only will Croatia achieve its objectives with regard to entering the Schengen Area in that way, but it will also achieve a pragmatic position in that the route across Bosnia and Herzegovina will not be that attractive for migrants and they will bypass us”, he added.
“Solidarity of everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region is necessary. If the EU and we do not come to an agreement, there will be problems. I will do everything for BiH to not become a parking lot for migrants”, Radoncic elaborated and underlined that the country has a shortage of police officers and the situation is worrying. “Each border police officer patrols 25 kilometres of the border. In the past three years, there has not been one new police officer employed in the border police”, Radončić stressed and added that the country urgently needs 400 police officers and in the long run 1200.
Regarding the illegal trafficking Bozinovic said that today almost all security issues are transnational, and that cross-border cooperation is essential.
He underlined that in 2019 the Croatian police arrested a thousand smugglers and added that this is “one of the fastest growing forms of organized crime in this region.”
“Since the beginning of the new year we have already arrested 95 people. That is certainly one area where cooperation has to be additionally strengthened with the relevant services in BiH and also elsewhere”, Bozinovic added.