March 11, 2020 – In addition to foreign and domestic truck carriers having problems at border crossings due to the coronavirus, they are also taking a financial hit from the migrant situation, not at the Italian border, but at the Serbian border with Croatia.
Migrants Jumping into Trucks from Overpasses
“Transportation and road transport and are the blood vessels of the economy and they must function. Truck carriers were instructed to tell their drivers how to behave regarding the coronavirus, but as far as migrants were concerned, they were not. They can’t do anything about it because migrants are jumping onto trucks from overpasses at night, cutting the tarpaulins, then settling in and waiting for the trucks to cross the border. The material damage and financial burden to carriers is immeasurable. And even when migrants are found in their trucks, the carrier is found guilty,” said Marijan Banelli, a traffic lobbyist, at Studio 4 on HRT (Croatian Radio Television).
A 28,000 HRK (3696 EUR) fine was slapped on the carrier Mario Ćurak, for example. Three migrants were found in his truck, and after Ćurak complained to customs in Osijek, the sentence was increased to 39,000 HRK (5148 EUR) and he was “neither guilty nor indebted” according to Novac/Jutarnji List on March 11, 2020.
“I have 12 trucks and every morning I expect another driver to call me and say that they have found migrants in his truck. We don’t have anything to do with this. Anything outside the cabin should not be our responsibility,” complained Ćurak.
His colleague Zeljko Marić has found migrants in his truck three times, and the last time was about three weeks ago.
Batrovci | YouTube
Croatia Fine for Carriers Found with Illegal Migrants: Up to 3036 EUR
If the driver is a foreign citizen who holds a work permit, customs confiscates the truck and the goods and the driver cannot continue until the fine is paid, which is on average 22,000 to 23,000 HRK (2904 to 3036 EUR). And we cannot delay payment for seven days, for example,” claims Marić.
“I think that the Croatian government must come forward and take responsibilty to protect the Croatian people, our carriers and drivers, because this behaviour is just protecting migrants. They must be treated as illegals who are crossing the border. The coronavirus is a force of nature, but migrants are not. The problem of Bajakovo (Croatian border town) and Batrovci (Serbian border town) must be resolved at the bilateral level, but Brussels must also be included because this is essentially a true Schengen border,” Banelli concluded.