Bosnia Needs Stronger Migration Management Capacities

The European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, told reporters after meeting Bosnia’s ministers on Friday (19.02) that the migration problem will not go away and that, according to her recent proposal, migrants may in the future has to fill out their asylum applications at the external border of the EU. 

Johansson said she recently presented the ‘New Pact on Migration and Asylum’ to the EU, calling it “a fresh start to find a compromise that all member states can agree on.” 

“Migration is something that has always been here and will always be here. The migration will not be over so we have to manage migration”, she said. 

The flow of migrants has changed significantly since 2015, when some two million refugees from Syria arrived in Europe fleeing the war. 

“Now we have totally different patterns, very much fewer irregular arrivals but they are coming from other countries and many of those coming to the European Union are not refugees”, she said. 

“That’s why I am proposing in my pact that all those coming from countries with a low recognition rate when it comes to asylum, probably not needing international protection, should have their asylum application processed already at the external borders – the so-called border procedures”, Johansson said. 

Authorities have to distinguish those who are eligible to stay and those who are not. And those who get a return decision have to return to their country of origin. “That’s why we also have to focus on readmission”, she stressed. 

Johansson said that she believes that these three priorities from the migration and asylum pact are also applicable in Bosnia. 

“I’m here with two strong messages: first, the European Union is a strong and reliable partner to Bosnia and Herzegovina in developing structures to manage migration. Second, migration management is a national responsibility and for me, it’s clear that Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to develop a better and stronger capacity on the national level to manage migration and also make sure that the whole country takes responsibility for managing migration”, she said. 

The Chairman of Bosnia’s Council of Ministers, Zoran Tegeltija, said that they agreed that migration must be managed and that it is a process that lasts forever and that it must not take place spontaneously. 

“The position from Bosnia and Herzegovina is that BiH bears too much of the migrant crisis given its size and population and that there are more migrants on the territory of BiH than BiH can accept given its size. The key things for solving the problem of migration are border controls, readmission of those who do not meet the conditions to receive international protection but are entitled to humanitarian aid. It is not possible for BiH alone to protect its borders, but for other countries to be protected before they appear at the BiH border. The readmission process should be accelerated, simplified and all people who do not meet the conditions should be returned to the countries they came from”, Tegeltija pointed out. 

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