European Parliament discusses situation with migrants along EU-BiH border

EP building in Brussels; Photo: European Parliament

BRUSSELS – Croation MEP Ivan Jakovičić has initiated a debate in European Parliament on the situation with migrants along his country’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Members of Parliament discussed Bosnia’s administrative and technical capacities, but also the possibility of radicalisation and terrorism.

Jakovčić complained about the schizophrenic situation his country has found itself in – on the one hand, it is accused of mistreatment of migrants, but, on the other, it us urged to protect EU’s external borders. He assessed that BiH needs help, because its institutions are not living up to the task.

MEP from Sweden Jasenko Selimović reiterated this assessment, emphasising that the EU lacks both financial and administrative capacities to tackle the problem. “The citizens and the country have so far done their job reasonably well, but the situation has become critical. I have received information from the ground that the police on the Croatian border has used force and violence against the migrants”, he stated.

EP Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cristian Dan Preda, pointed at the unconstructive politization of the events, while Vytenis Andriukaitis of European Commission reminded of the 30-million-Euro worth of financial assistance EU sent to BiH in 2017, including the 2-million-Euro humanitarian assistance.

In the past few months alone, EU has donated more than 9,2 million Euros through various projects in order to help migrants and refugees on the ground and strengthen its capacities of border management. Migrants were provided with accommodation and medical assistance.

Some MEPs from Italy and Croatia, including Marijana Petir, warned of the potential for radicalisation among the migrants, some of them even claiming that ex-ISIS members are among them.

On the other hand, MEPs coming from the left-oriented parties criticized Croatia’s conduct and accused their colleagues of abusing Strasbourg attack for spreading Islamophobic ideas.