ZAGREB, June 14, 2018 – Croatian Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said in Bucharest on Thursday that border protection was a priority for the EU but that additional efforts were needed to help strengthen the police forces of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are intersected by the newest migration route.
Before the start of a meeting of the Salzburg Forum in the Romanian capital, Božinović met with his Austrian counterpart Herbert Kickl, and the two agreed that Europe should work together so as to prevent a crisis similar to the one that happened in 2015.
Božinović told Hina that the purpose of the meeting of the Salzburg Forum, an informal group of Central and Eastern European countries promoting cooperation in matters related to home security, was “a discussion on issues of common interest, primarily migrations which increasingly occupy the first positions on the agendas of EU institutions and other forums.”
“I and my colleague Kickl discussed Austria’s coming presidency and he pointed to the fact that his country’s priority would be the protection of the EU’s external border. That is also Croatia’s interest because the Croatian border is the longest EU land border with non-member countries,” said Božinović.
Božinović added that the Forum supported enhancing the European border and coast guard “as well as all the things the EC has been trying to agree lately in order to strengthen the EU’s capacity in fighting primarily illegal migrations.” “In that context, the role of the Croatian police has been recognised because they have been doing a great job, notably in protecting national interests and borders, as well as EU borders,” said the minister.
Božinović said that he was very optimistic after the Bucharest meeting because, among other things, “Croatia’s position that countries along the Balkan route, primarily Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, should be included in efforts to fight illegal migrations, was accepted.”
The two countries should be “assisted in strengthening the capacity of their border services and aligning their legislation with EU law.”
Božinović also said that the EU should work more on resolving conflicts in Africa and the Middle East “because the source of the problems lies there and the solution should be sought there as well.”