EU statement on the migration situation in BiH

“Today, the Lipa facility, which was set as a temporary measure and is not suitable for winter, was closed. This leaves around 3,000 refugees and migrants without access to basic shelter and services in winter conditions.

All preconditions are in place for relocating the refugees and migrants in Lipa to the reception centre Bira in Bihać. They are set in the BiH Council of Ministers decisions on Lipa, on the reception centre Bira, on the National Plan of Actions and Measures and in the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Asylum.

Unfortunately, the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina failed to implement the relocation to Bira, which was emptied and remains unused despite the continued EU funding.

The failure of the Una-Sana cantonal authorities to act is raising questions about the rule of law and directly contributing to a humanitarian and security crisis.

We urge, once again, the authorities to rise above political considerations and temporarily reopen the centre Bira in Bihać. We call upon the authorities to provide sufficient winterized shelter capacity for refugees and migrants.

The EU has expressed concerns about the migration situation and the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country on several occasions. It has supported all relevant authorities in finding, defining and negotiating solutions. The EU has furthermore provided considerable financial and technical support to Bosnia and Herzegovina to better manage migration and asylum and assist citizens in coping with the challenging situation. Just recently the European Commission adopted an additional €25 million assistance package to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in managing migration. The EU and its partners will continue to help and alleviate conditions of refugees and migrants without shelter.”