Closing down of Balkan refugee route might bring new challenges for Croatian police.
“The point is to keep a firm border regime, and for all other emergencies our forces are ready to react”, said yesterday Croatian Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković. Although there are thousands of refugees waiting on the Greek side of the border with Macedonia to continue their trip to Europe, the minister assures that there is no risk of new routes being opened, report Večernji List and Index.hr on March 10, 2016.
At the same time, unofficial sources claim that a police unit has already been moved to the Prevlaka peninsula on the southern tip of Croatia. If need be, in a short period of time additional forces can be sent there. In recent days, the Interior Ministry has reportedly asked all police departments to see how many members of police forces they have available. Currently there is no need for them to be used, but no one knows what will happen in the next few days. Prime Minister Orešković said that in two weeks the number of migrants on the Balkan route had been reduced from 3,200 per day to zero.
“By helping Turkey, the number of refugees on the Macedonian border will be reduced and over time we will see the results”, said Orešković who dismissed the idea that Croatia could witness the so-called Lampedusa scenario, with refugees coming by boats to the vicinity of the island of Korčula.
When it comes to quotas, the data are contradictory, depending on the source. Croatian sources claim Croatia is to receive 568 refugees. It is not known where they would be located, since the proposal of the operational plan never appeared at a government session. One of the locations could the Porin hotel in Zagreb where 600 refugees can be accommodated. However, sources from the European Commission say that the number has increased and that Croatian government will accept a total of 2,211 refugees.
In the last few days, not a single migrant has entered Croatia. There are 320 of them accommodated in the transit centre in Slavonski Brod. They have been returned from Slovenia, and Croatia will return them back to Serbia. In the asylum seekers reception centre in Ježevo there are about 80 illegal immigrants.
Since the refugee crisis began in September, 658,068 refugees and migrants have passed through Croatia, 340,000 of which passed through the transit centre in Slavonski Brod. During that time, six children were born by mothers who were on their way to western European countries.