Croatia and Bosnia Discuss Border Controls and Migration Issues

By 23 February 2018

ZAGREB, February 23, 2018 - Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović met with Bosnia and Herzegovina's Security Minister Dragan Mektić in the eastern Croatian town of Slavonski Brod on Friday to discuss security cooperation, notably border security and migration management, the European Commission's new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans and Croatia's preparations to join the Schengen area, the Croatian Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The current situation on the border was assessed as stable, after a slight increase in the number of illegal migrants crossing the border from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia in recent weeks.

The two ministers discussed ways of strengthening bilateral police cooperation, including continued closer cooperation during the summer tourist season. They agreed further joint police patrols along the border, which have been in place since 2008.

Also discussed was the importance of implementing the agreement between the Croatian government and the Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Ministers on the readmission of illegal migrants and the protocol on the implementation of readmission agreements and their standardised implementation along the entire length of the border.

The two ministers welcomed the European Commission's enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans, and agreed on the importance of Bosnia and Herzegovina being awarded membership candidate status.

Božinović reaffirmed Croatia's support for Bosnia and Herzegovina's integration into the EU, saying that the Interior Ministry was willing to provide all the necessary assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina's institutions in meeting the EU membership criteria.

The two ministers supported the initiative from the enlargement strategy to strengthen security cooperation, including cooperation in combating organised crime and corruption, terrorism, violent extremism, border security and migration management.

Božinović spoke of Croatia's preparations to assume the six-month rotating presidency of the EU in the first half of 2020. He said that the priorities of the Croatian presidency would be economic growth, development, connectivity, EU enlargement and security. Also discussed were Croatia's preparations to join the Schengen area, and the two ministers agreed to continue cooperation on all issues of common interest.