Croatia Says It’s Not Migrant Entry Point, Demands Migrant Traceability

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 25, 2018 – Croatia will protect its national interests if some member states return migrants to the countries where they entered the European Union because Croatia is almost never the first country of entry, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Brussels on Sunday at a mini summit on migration.

The mini summit was convened by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the heads of 16 EU member states responded.

That’s one of the key legal issues in the revision of the Dublin Regulation. We will protect our national interests in the negotiations. Croatia is, in almost no case, the first country of entry on EU territory, but at least the second. That is why we want a precise, proportionate and clear traceability of those entries so that we can protect national interests, Plenković said.

Asked if Croatia would support a proposal to step up the control of migrants’ secondary movements, he said a balance must be found as stricter control in one member state automatically caused a chain reaction in others.

At this moment we are talking about formulations for the European Council, which will meet on Thursday. We must strike the right balance between what European regulations are and what might remain at national level as possibly stricter measures. We must see how far one can go, Plenković said.

He said the mini summit was informal and that it would discuss how to ensure cooperation regarding the external dimension of migrations, the issue of security, and partnership and cooperation with the countries from which migrants came as well as with transit countries and international organisations that could help.

For us, the protection of the European Union’s external borders is much more important. The eastern Mediterranean route is crucial for Croatia. For us, that means the tightest and the best control possible on Turkey’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria. That would stop the flow of illegal migration across Macedonia, Albania and, at this moment, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and on to Western Europe, said Plenković.

Croatia’s main goal is to enter the Schengen Area, which would reinforce the EU’s external border, he added.

We want to use the European funds at our disposal for reinforcing the external border. We want to share our part of the responsibility in proportion to the country’s size and economic possibilities, as we have done so far. That is why we have come here to see what other member states think before we agree on conclusions for next week’s European Council. We want to responsibly protect national interests and take into account the fact that migration flows are still active, but not nearly as in 2015, Plenković said.


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