All we’re asking of Serbia is to start either building camps or to start distributing them to other legal border crossings
Straight off the plane from Brussels, Croatian Prime minister Milanović held a press conference.
“Yesterday, at 5 PM, I said that we will open the Bajakovo border crossing for freight trucks today, and that we will close it again if Serbia doesn’t start to distribute migrants towards other border crossings and towards Horgos. I have to protect the safety of Croatian citizens. In order to keep things running as smoothly as possible, we can’t accept a few thousand migrants a day, we can’t take in 9000 a day, which is what is happening at the moment because of the way Serbia is handling things. Serbia is letting migrants and refugees wander around the country, uncontrollably, until they reach the North from where they send them all to Croatia. Why are they doing that? Because that’s the arrangement they have with Hungary”. Milanovic said in his opening statement
“I am asking Serbia to start organising refugee camps just like we did, to hold them for a day and start distributing some of them to Horgos. It’s very simple, ” he continued.
Milanović stated that the measure to block the border was not discriminatory because it affected everyone, not just Serbian trucks and Serbia answered with a measure that only included Croatian trucks and Croatian goods. They implemented their measure at midnight without discussing it with the EU, after I said that the border will be open. With this measure they are causing more harm to the Serbian economy than ours: “Yes, large Croatian companies have interests in Serbia, but Serbian workers are employed in those companies, those companies pay taxes in Serbia. And I have to correct the press regarding this mornings events, we never denied entry to the Serbian people, only trucks with Serbian license plates.” Milanović pointed out.
“I am saying this now because of the Serbian public. The situation we are all in is extraordinary, it is not regulated by any existing free trade agreements. We accepted the refugees from day one, but we have to see what Serbia can do from their side. I will not allow anyone to make a fool of us because this uncontrolled influx can be prevented today. I offered Serbian Prime minister Vučić 50, 100 buses if he needs them so migrants and refugees can be taken to other border crossings in a controlled fashion. The whole point of this story is to take some of the pressure off us. Even David Cameron could not believe when I told him 40 000 refugees and migrants passed though Croatia in 8 days. Hungary was complaining that 60 000 of them passed through their country in 6 months! This is not a drama, but we have to adhere to the rules”. Milanović continued.
He also confirmed that there is no Plan C to send the refugees and migrants back to Serbia despite of what the Serbian media was reporting adding “That would be unrealistic”.
All I want, as your Prime minister, is to protect Croatian interests and to stop this intense influx of refugees. All Serbia has to do is to start organising the way it handles the migrants and refugees and to stop sending them all to us” – he concluded.
Watch the press conference here: