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CEB and IOM agree on additional grant support for refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia

29 June 2021

PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) signed three grant agreements, in total value of €900 000, to continue providing essential assistance to migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia.

In both Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, the funding will support Covid-19 prevention and response measures, including specific efforts aimed at integrating migrants and refuges in the local vaccination campaigns. Distinctly, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the grant will finance the provision of essential food and non-food items to migrant and refugees located in the Una Sana Canton, and the running of the Lipa provisional camp and new temporary reception centre. In North Macedonia, the grant will also support the identification of and assistance to actual and potential victims of human trafficking.

The activities associated with the three grants will build on the IOM’s previous efforts, supported by more than €13.7 million in grant contributions from the CEB’s Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF), to ensure an adequate response to migration on the Balkan route. 

MRF IOM Rolf WenzelRolf Wenzel, Governor of the CEB, said: “The CEB would like to thank the IOM, and in particular to all staff working on the Balkan route, for joining the CEB’s and its donors’ efforts to assist our member countries in timely responding to the challenges posed by the refugee crisis. As we look ahead, in light of the fact that migration seems to be no longer an exceptional but a permanent phenomenon, our institutions commit to further enhancing the countries’ capacity and ownership of their response to migration flows so that human rights are upheld and the host communities’ social cohesion is strengthened.” 

MRF IOM Laura LungarottiLaura Lungarotti, IOM Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Western Balkans and IOM Chief of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “The IOM has been supported by the CEB, through its Migrant and Refugee Fund, since the beginning of the arrival of migrants in the Western Balkans therefore supporting the countries to cope with the situation. We are thankful that the CEB recognized IOM as the most proactive partner in the field, strategically present to be ready when the need emerges to provide immediate support to the migrants in need. The newly allocated funds will help the IOM to continue providing capacity building to the authorities, improve access to information and advocacy for migrants’ inclusion into Covid-19 vaccine strategies but also provide support and raise awareness regarding issues of trafficking and smuggling of migrants.”

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The Migrant and Refugee Fund was established by the CEB in October 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, to support its member countries in accommodating and/ or integrating migrants and refugees arriving on their territories. Twenty-two CEB member states have contributed to the MRF. The CEB and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have also provided funding. In total, funds raised exceed € 28 million while close to 80% of that has supported migrant and refugee reception efforts on the Balkan route. More information on the MRF can be found here.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.
*unsolicited