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Montenegro: Police intensifies patrol near border due to increase in the number of migrants


Due to the increasing presence of migrants in the area, police has intensified patrols in villages that gravitate towards the state border between Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, police forces did not confirm the number of migrants residing in the territory of Pljevlja municipality, nor how many of them managed to cross the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina. When migrants enter the country they are not punished for illegal entry but are directed to submit the requests to the competent Ministry of Interior and accommodated in the competent centers where they can stay until the end procedure. However, many of them do not wait forC the asylum procedure to be terminated but try to illegally leave the territory of Montenegro via Bosnia or, seldom, through Croatia. Migrants enter the abandoned houses of the villages they cross to find refuge.

The Police Administration affirmed that four such cases were reported to them. Indeed, The Pljevlja Security Center has so far registered four citizens’ reports concerning breakouts in four family houses, in which no one lives in the winter. Police also claimed that since August 2017, there has been a slight increase in the number of illegal migrants from the neighboring Republic of Albania. Illegal migration in Montenegro is mainly of an individual and transitory character, mainly for economic reasons. The majority of migrants registered come from Algeria, Syria, Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, as well as citizens of neighboring countries such as Albania, Kosovo, and Serbia.

Bosnia Herzegovina: amendments to the BiH’s Election Law


President of the Democratic Croat Union (HDZ) of BiH Dragan Čović believes that the agreement on amendments to the BiH Election Law will be reached by May 7, when the General Elections in BiH will be announced. BiH Presidency Member Čović stated that there is little time left to find an agreement and that this amendment is necessary for the state. He further claimed that it is only necessary to uphold the decisions of the Constitutional Court of BiH to change the Electoral Law. He stressed that the attitude of the Croatian People’s Assembly regarding the amendments to the Election Law should change legitimately the representation of Croats in the Presidency of BiH and in the homes of the people. Čović attempted to make an appointment with US Ambassador to BiH Maureen Cormack to discuss the above-mentioned amendments, but they still have not met. 

Horizontal Facility program crucial to bring Bosnia closer to the EU


The Joint Program of the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey” is of great importance for Bosnia and Herzegovina because it is approaching the EU and helps it meet EU standards, especially in the field of the rule of law and the fight against discrimination. The total budget of the program is 25 million euros, of which the EU has provided 20 million and the Council of Europe five million.

This program implemented in BiH has four projects: two projects initiated last year, “Human Rights Program for detainees and prisoners” and “Capacity building program for the ombudsman institution for the fight against discrimination”, and two introduced this year, namely “Quality Education in Multiethnic Societies” and “Program for the Rights of National Minorities”. The Horizontal Facility program has been crucial for the implementation of reforms that are in line with the Council of Europe monitoring and EU standards monitoring bodies, and to be implemented in areas that treat prisons, police and the fight against discrimination in BiH.

BiH must abandon the rhetoric of division


Regarding the statement made by the BiH Presidency Chairman and HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović, in which he claimed that civilian BiH meant the rise of Islamic State in the country, the US Embassy in BiH stated that it is necessary for BiH leaders to abandon the rhetoric of division and embrace commitment to solving daily problems of citizens so as to launch the country forward in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.

Magazinović: BiH must face organized crime for EU membership


Representative in Parliament of BiH Saša Magazinović (SDP), at the presentation of the European Strategy in Strasbourg, stated that it is important for BiH to reform and advance to secure access to the European Union (EU). It is especially important for BiH to deal with organized crime, with an additional emphasis on the link between politics and crime. He also affirmed that the country will not get far away with current politicians and political habits.

Operation Albatros: 16 arrested for human trafficking

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Police officers of the State Investigation and Protection Agency of BiH (SIPA) conducted searches at 14 locations in the Canton Sarajevo, Una-Sana Canton, and Tuzla Canton. The operation, named Operation Albatros, led to the arrest of 16 people suspected of smuggling a large number of citizens of the Republic of Serbia from the territory of Kosovo to Croatia and other EU countries. This action is considered as a decisive step in the fight against illegal migration and smuggling of migrants in BiH.

Issues with European Questionnaire


Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH Mirko Šarović has stated that the country is currently facing issues with chapter 22 on regional cooperation of the European Questionnaire. conversations have been conducted in Banja Luka in the Government of Republika Srpska in order to define the responses of the participants in this process. Regarding the current implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), Šarović pointed out that it has given some concern to the country especially with neighboring countries such as Croatia.

Hybrid regime in BiH


According to the 2017 survey of the “Index of Democracy” conducted by the British newspaper The Economist, BiH is classified into “hybrid regimes”. Ranking 101st out of 167, BiH has scored 4.87 out of 10. For the election process, BiH received a score of 6.5, for the functioning of the government 2.93, political participation 5, political culture 3.75 and social freedom 6.18. According to the analysis provided, BiH was placed in the same category as Turkey, Iraq, Ukraine, Nicaragua, Nepal, Mozambique and Bolivia.

No paramilitary groups in Republika Srpska


The Minister of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska (RS), Dragan Lukač, has denied the existence of paramilitary formations in RS reminding that the organization “Serbian Honor” was registered in Niš, Serbia. Moreover, Lukač emphasized the absence of groups or organizations that could pose a threat to the security of the citizens of RS. According to him, eight of the 17 radicalized people who departed from BiH to join the war (presumably in Syria) have returned but are being closely monitored by the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Meeting in Istanbul: Sarajevo-Belgrade road proposal accepted


The main topic discussed in the meeting of the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the member of the Presidency of BiH Bakir Izetbegovic and the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic were infrastructure projects in BiH and Serbia, more specifically the construction of the highway Sarajevo-Belgrade. This project will be fully financed by Turkey, whose companies will construct the highway hiring domestic workers, and it will charge the use of it for a period of time in a form of concession. The highway will be then handed over to BiH and Serbia, thus BiH will not be further indebted.

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