Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter to consolidate migration cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece
Bern, 19.10.2021 - From 20 to 22 October, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter will visit Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece. Migration poses ongoing challenges for these countries due to their respective locations on either side of the EU's external border. These working visits by the head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) are intended to reaffirm Switzerland's commitment to tackling the problem. Migration management is also the focus of bilateral talks with counterparts from both countries. The trip will also give Ms Keller-Sutter the opportunity to visit aid projects supported by Switzerland.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is increasingly used as a transit country towards Western Europe along the so-called Western Balkan Route. The country relies heavily on international aid, particularly in providing shelter and health services to thousands of migrants who do not meet the conditions for entry into the EU.
Keller-Sutter reaffirms Swiss commitment
A migration partnership has been in place between Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2009. Since 2017, Switzerland has supported several migration projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, investing around CHF 6.8 million. As part of her working visit, Federal Councillor Keller-Sutter will visit a migration centre near Sarajevo. The facility for families, unaccompanied minors, and other vulnerable groups is supported by the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit.
The migration partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Switzerland's commitment will also be the focus of the planned ministerial meetings. The head of the FDJP will hold talks with meet security minister Selmo Cikotić and migration minister Miloš Lučić for talks in Sarajevo.
Ongoing challenges for the Greek asylum and migration system
Greece is also an important partner for Switzerland in migration cooperation. Thanks to reforms and international support - including assistance from Switzerland - Greece has been able to improve its asylum and reception system as well as conditions for asylum seekers on the Aegean islands.
Future cooperation, including cooperation within the framework of the second Swiss contribution in relation to migration will be the focus of talks with the Greek Minister for Asylum and Migration, Notis Mitarachi, and the Minister for Citizens' Protection, Takis Theodorikakos. Ms Keller-Sutter and her Greek colleagues will also discuss continuing challenges facing the Greek asylum system and the need to reform the European asylum and migration system.
In Athens, Ms Keller-Sutter will also visit a facility for unaccompanied girls, which has received financial support from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). Since 2014, Switzerland has provided Greece with around EUR 12 million for its asylum and admission infrastructure. To conclude the trip, the head of the FDJP will visit the Mavrovouni facility on the Greek island of Lesbos to assess the situation on the ground. Switzerland has provided humanitarian aid there in the form of a drinking water supply system, medical equipment to combat the pandemic, and other relief supplies.
Address for enquiries
Communication Service FDJP, T +41 58 462 18 18
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