Bosnia and Herzegovina's Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic on Monday said in Zagreb that economic migration is not a humanitarian issue and that he would do everything so that Bosnia and Herzegovina does not become a parking lot for migrants.
"We have deliberately chosen Croatia for our first bilateral meeting to show that relations with Croatia are strategically important for us because we share more than one thousand kilometres of border," said Radoncic who was recently appointed as the country's new Security Minister.
"Bosnia finds it exceptionally important that Croatian border is absolutely impenetrable for illegal migrants for security and other reasons," Radoncic underscored.
"Not only will Croatia achieve its objectives with regard to entering the Schengen Area in that way, but it will also achieve a pragmatic position in that the route across Bosnia and Herzegovina will not be that attractive for migrants and they will bypass us," he explained.
Croatia's Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic agreed with his counterpart but added that it is not in anyone's interest for another or third route to exist.
"We need to come to an agreement at the EU level about the objective and intention with regard to economic migrations," Bozinovic added.
"Solidarity of everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region is necessary. If the EU and we do not come to an agreement, there will be problems. I will do everything for Bosnia and Herzegovina to not become a parking lot for migrants," Radonic underlined and called on Brussels to not treat the migrant crisis merely as a humanitarian issue but one of security too.
He added that 93% of EU support for Bosnia and Herzegovina is used for humanitarian aid and only 7% is allocated for security issues.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a shortage of police officers
Bozinovic said that he and his counterpart had agreed to stronger cooperation between border police while Radoncic warned of the "alarming situation," in his country in that regard.
"Each border police officer patrols 25 kilometres of the border. In the past three years, there has not been one new police officer employed in the border police," Radoncic stressed and added that the country urgently needs 400 police officers and in the long run 1,200.
Bozinovic said that today almost all security issues are transnational and that cross-border cooperation is essential.
He underlined that last year Croatia arrested a thousand smugglers and added that this is "one of the fastest-growing forms of organised crime in these regions."
"We have already arrested 95 people since the beginning of the year. That is certainly one area where cooperation has to be additionally strengthened with the relevant services in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also elsewhere," Bozinovic added.
In the end, Radoncic thanked Croatia for its support to Bosnia and Herzegovina and invited Bozinovic for a visit.