Croatia Could Not Handle Larger Number of Refugees

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Prime Minister Orešović recently discussed the refugee issue with German Chancellor Merkel.

Migrants are arriving in Serbia. Hungary is strengthening wire fence on the border with Serbia. The EU agreement with Turkey is close to collapse because the EU will probably not abolish visas for Turkish citizens. The number of arrivals of migrants in Greece has increased again, reports Večernji List on September 1, 2016.

At the same time, Greece is proving to be a weak link in the chain, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked about during her meetings with European leaders last week. She was informed about Croatian position by Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković during an informal meeting on Saturday. Croatia shares its position with Slovenia and Austria, with whom it would have to coordinate in case there is a new wave of migrants. Chancellor could hear that Croatia did not have capacities to receive a larger number of people. Merkel herself is well-aware of that and knows that the open door policy can no longer continue.

Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić declined to comment on possible consequences of the collapse of agreement between Turkey and the EU. He said that the current situation with regards to migrants in Croatia was stable, with no indication that there could be any problems. “However, no one knows what might happen in two hours or two days”, said Orepić. He pointed out that the Ministry of Interior had “exceptional cooperation with Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia”.

Recently, police officers from Slavonia have returned from tourist areas of the country to their region. The official explanation of the Interior Ministry is that the tourist high season has ended, but unofficial information is completely different. Police officers were reportedly returned home so they would be situated closer to the border if a new refugee wave starts moving. The Vukovar-Srijem Police Department is on alert. There are about five hundred migrants in Croatia. Slightly less than half of them have filed requests for international protection, while others are waiting to return to their countries of origin.

In Serbia, there are currently 4,000 migrants, according to Assistant Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Danijela Popović-Roko. “Currently there is no increased arrival of migrants, but we are preparing for the winter”, said Popović-Roko.


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