ZAGREB, March 12, 2018 – Croatia’s Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović met with his Macedonian counterpart Oliver Spasovski in Zagreb on Monday to discuss cooperation between the two countries and developments along the Western Balkans migration route.
Božinović said that the two ministries were intensively cooperating in criminal investigations, in combating terrorism and in addressing the acute issue of migration. “Macedonia has similar problems to Croatia regarding illegal migrants and border control. Although right now there are no indications of the migrant flow intensifying, we are aware that we all, more or less, depend on the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement. That is why it is important that we cooperate on this issue and exchange experiences because the two ministries will be dealing with this issue for years to come,” he added.
Božinović said that the cooperation between Macedonia and Croatia was good and without outstanding issues and could serve as an example to other countries in the region. “It is very important to Croatia for Macedonia to advance in its strategic priorities and join NATO and the European Union as soon as possible. Croatia has been giving absolute support to Macedonia on this path from the outset,” Božinović said.
He recalled that Macedonia had signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU before Croatia and had become a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme before Croatia, but has still not joined the two organisations because of the name problem with Greece.
Spasovski said that the cooperation between the Croatian and Macedonian police was excellent on all issues, including fighting crime and corruption, arms and drugs trafficking, and terrorism. He added that managing the migrant crisis was one of the main areas of cooperation.
Spasovski thanked the Croatian Ministry of the Interior for assistance in guarding the border with Greece, emphasising the contribution of 250 Croatian police officers to that effort. He also thanked Croatia for supporting Macedonia on its path to the EU and NATO and for sharing its experience from these processes.