The European Union has been supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the Una-Sana Canton (USC), in the management of the ongoing migration crisis.
The EU officials visited Bihac on Monday and met with the Prime Minister of USC and the Mayor of Bihac.
“The European Union is here to help and has been helping throughout this migration crisis. We have provided EUR 36 million for the migration management and have held intensive dialogue with all relevant authorities to find sustainable solutions. Our visit comes at a very critical time: dignified accommodation for all migrants must be ensured”, said Michela Matuella, Head of Unit for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Directorate-General for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission.
“The European Commission is very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in Una-Sana Canton, at the onset of winter, with a large number of migrants and refugees sleeping outside reception facilities and a large number of them residing in Vucjak camp in conditions that are not in line with international standards and are unacceptable”, noted Martin Taschner, Head of Unit at the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
Statement published on the official website of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina reads that regardless of all the EU support, the situation remains very concerning. “Substantial funds, in the range of EUR 18 million, could not be utilized so far because the country’s authorities have not identified new suitable reception centers. The identification of two new centers last week in Sarajevo and Tuzla cantons is a positive development and the EU expects, once operational, those centers will relieve the pressure from Una Sana Canton”, the statement reads.
The EU has also provided a direct support to the citizens of Bihac, by upgrading its obsolete city lighting system. This ongoing project, worth EUR 600,000, will significantly improve public safety and comfort, in addition to enhancing energy efficiency and savings for the administration.