The EIB has donated €250 000 to the Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) managed by the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB); the donation complements an initial €5 million contribution made by the Bank in 2015. The donation will help improve living conditions for migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s biggest refugee camp — Lipa. The EIB is one of the largest contributors to the MRF. 

Governor of the CEB Rolf Wenzel and EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova signed the agreement on Friday in an online ceremony attended by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassador Johann Sattler.

This donation will cover utilities, rent, maintenance and waste management costs at the Lipa refugee camp.

“The EIB is interested in remaining a reliable partner for the Western Balkans region and Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus supporting countries’ EU accession ambitions including efforts to support increased preparedness to shocks cause by migration, poverty and natural disasters through the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative,” said Vice-President Pavlova.

Around 70 000 refugees and migrants have transited through Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2018

CEB established the Migrant and Refugee Fund in 2015 to support the countries affected by the migrant crisis. The MRF support to Bosnia and Herzegovina amounts to €1.4 million to date. Some 8 000 forcibly displaced people are currently in the country while close to 70 000 have passed through it via the Western Balkans migration route since the beginning of 2018.

Governor Rolf Wenzel added: “The European Union, through the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, is our largest donor and privileged partner. I would like to thank the EIB for its renewed support of the MRF.”

On the same occasion, EU Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler said: “Recently, the BiH Ministry of Security has taken positive steps towards coordinating the migration response, such as launching the drafting of a migration strategy for 2021-2025 and setting up a permanent camp in Lipa, in line with international standards. In this context, we welcome the fact that the EIB and CEB come strongly and timely together on a matter of particular importance for the region, which needs international support and compassion. I am looking forward to our continued cooperation and coordination on migration.”

Support for MRF and the Economic Resilience Initiative helps absorb the shocks from the migrant crisis

Apart from the contributions to MRF, the EIB is supporting the Western Balkans and Southern Neighbourhood in addressing some of their most challenging issues such as poverty, migration, political crisis, economic downturns and natural disasters through its Economic Resilience Initiative. The ERI was launched in 2016 as part of a joint EU response to the migrant crisis and in close cooperation with the EU Member States, the European Commission, donors and other partners.

To date, €5.6 billion of new financing has been approved for over 60 projects that have helped sustain some 218 000 jobs, improved public transport for 420 000 passengers daily and enabled access to clean water for 4.5 million people.