Bosnia is a poor country and has one border police officer guarding every 25 kilometres of its border, which the migrants seeking to reach Western Europe know very well and exploit extensively, Bosnia’s new Security Minister, Fahrudin Radoncic, told N1 on Wednesday, adding that the EU should invest more into helping the country if it wants to prevent masses of migrants from using it to enter the Union.
In a one-on-one interview with N1, Radoncic said he will try to reinforce the eastern border, where some 6-7,000 migrants are waiting to cross into Bosnia come spring.
“Those are organised groups. We are the weakest part. We must return some competencies to the officers of the Border Police. We must ask for a budget increase so new officers are employed,” Radoncic said.
“People are arriving from countries which are a lot bigger than Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said, adding that Bosnia’s authorities do not know who those migrants are exactly but that Syrian refugees are only a small minority among them.
Radoncic stated that Bosnia, as a country where “the average pension is about 200 Euros, the average salary is 400 Euros, where 30 percent of the population is unemployed, where every sixth citizen goes to sleep hungry,” can not be treated as a “parking lot” for the migrants.
“Our population can not endure that,” he said, arguing that the migrant situation has “destroyed” the tourism and economy in Bosnia’s northwestern Krajina region.
“Everybody keeps saying we are not humane enough, and to that, I say that they should give us more money and that we will put together a joint plan to discourage them (migrants),” he said.
The minister announced that he will visit Zagreb to meet with officials there and discuss how Bosnia and Croatia could develop a joint strategy that would solve the problem of migrants crossing over into Croatia and then being caught and escorted back to Bosnia, often with Croatian police crossing the border.
Asked how he intends to speak to Croatian officials who often talk about Bosnian Muslims as radicals and terrorists, Radoncic said that he will remind them that their election campaigns are over and that they can stop saying those things and begin cooperating with the Bosnians.
“Imagine these people travelling through Bosnia and Herzegovina without anybody knowing their identity. They introduce themselves as Muhammad Ali and Mohamed Salah, they humiliate our officers,” he said.
“Our western friends must take over responsibility for the security in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I see no reason for police agencies not helping each other,” he added.