European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic , is today in Bosnia and Herzegovina to strengthen the cooperation on disaster prevention, preparedness and response, both at national and regional level. It comes as the country has reconfirmed its interest to join the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, which coordinates joint crisis response actions.
The Commissioner also attended an EU funded full-scale earthquake exercise response, with first responders from Austria, Romania, Albania, Montenegro, Slovenia and other international agencies taking part.
Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management said: ”Just a few days ago, Bosnia and Herzegovina was hit by two earthquakes. We cannot always predict when and where the next one strikes, but we can get better prepared. Therefore I fully support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s request to join the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. I am confident that becoming a member of our European civil protection framework will ensure Bosnia and Herzegovina benefit from stronger crisis response whenever large scale crises strike. Together, we can protect and save lives.”
The Commissioner also met with Members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Minister of Security Selmo Cikotić amongst others.
During his visit, the Commissioner also announced an €2.5 million in additional humanitarian funding to help Bosnia and Herzegovina cover the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in the country.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism aims to strengthen cooperation between the EU countries and 6 Participating States (Iceland, Norway, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Turkey) on civil protection to improve prevention, preparedness, and response to disasters.
When an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country in Europe and beyond, it can request assistance through the Mechanism. The European Commission plays a key role in coordinating the disaster response worldwide. Since its inception in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has responded to almost 600 requests for assistance inside and outside the EU.
Bosnia and Herzegovina currently hosts over 2 300 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. The humanitarian situation has significantly improved over the years, with thanks to strong engagement of the EU, the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities and the humanitarian community. Most importantly, a robust accommodation base for up to 5 200 people has been established. This newly announced support brings the EU’s humanitarian funding for Bosnia and Herzegovina to €18.5 million in total since 2018. Besides, since 2018, the EU has provided €125 million under the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) to cover the basic needs of refugees and migrants, including, shelter, food and non-food items.