Bosnia and Herzegovina will step up talks with the aim of signing an agreement with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) to improve the control of illegal migration through BiH, which is particularly important for the control of the EU's external border, Security Minister Nenad Nesic said.
Following a meeting with the leaders of BiH police agencies, Nesic told a news conference in Sarajevo on Tuesday that so far agreement had been reached on forming a negotiating team, its task being to harmonise provisions of a model agreement, the kind of which is usually signed with Frontex, with specific requests by the signatory country.
“Understanding on the part of the EU will be required,” said Nesic, who believes that Frontex should accept as equal partners police agencies at all levels of government in BiH and not just the state border police.
BiH is a crucial country on the so-called Western Balkan route used by illegal migrants from the area of the Mediterranean who are trying to reach, via Greece, and other EU member countries, and the first one on that route is Croatia.
The border between Croatia and BiH is more than 1,000 kilometres long and difficult to control so Frontex has offered its capacity and personnel to help BiH police agencies.
Frontex earlier signed similar agreements with other Western Balkan countries but talks on the matter with BiH came to a halt after Bosnian Serb entity authorities insisted that the entity police force be treated as a “visible” partner, despite the fact that the EU agency signs agreements only with states while talks at lower levels of government deal only with operational details.
The Serb entity authorities are also opposed, for political reasons, to plans to establish a more efficient system of control of the border between BiH and Serbia, from where most illegal migrants arrive.
Since 2022 the EU has been registering a drastic increase in the number of illegal migrants who arrive there via Serbia and BiH.