Improved migration control and management within Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the enhanced control of the country's eastern border are now priorities, the operation group for the migrant issue concluded in a meeting in Sarajevo on Monday.
Due to weather conditions, the influx of migrants to Bosnia significantly decreased over the winter season and a little more than 1,000 were registered after entering the country since the beginning of the year.
Some 4,000 migrants are currently accommodated in Bosnia, in seven shelters – most of which are located in the northwestern Una-Sana region, the region bordering Croatia.
Bosnia's authorities have been struggling with the migrant issue for the whole past year, after dozens of thousands of foreign nationals, coming from various Asian and African countries, took to Bosnia on the so-called Balkan route, trying to reach their final destinations in western Europe.
The migrants, who said they had no intention to stay in Bosnia, are now stranded in the northwest of the country, hoping they would eventually enter Croatia and go further to other European countries. Croatia will not let them in, as the larger part of the migrants are illegal and posses no valid documents proving their origin.
Bosnia's Security Minister Dragan Mektic said a new wave of migrants is possible in spring this year.
“Since the number of migrants might increase this spring, better migrant control and management within Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the priorities, in order to avoid overbooking of accommodation capacities in the Una-Sana Canton. Also, we agreed that the persons prone to criminal offences will be relocated to the Immigration Centre in Lukavica,” he said in a statement issued by the Ministry.
Enhancing the control of the country's eastern border in order to reduce the number of migrants' entrances will also be among the top priorities, the group concluded.
The European Union's Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) earmarked this year €2 million for support and equipping of Bosnia's law enforcement agencies, the statement said, adding that the EU would also finance with €11 million the costs of migrants' accommodation, food, and medical services.