Refugee crisis might bring changes to the role of Croatian Army.
The government will soon propose amendments to the Law on State Border Control which will allow military participation in guarding the border. The law will be changed so that, in case the refugee crisis escalates, the army can help the police in controlling the borders. Croatian army has so far been engaged in the construction of refugee transit camps in Slavonia but did not guard the border itself. According to unofficial information, the adoption of these changes would not mean that troops would certainly be sent to the border. That would happen only in the case that the police could no longer control the situation, reports Jutarnji List and Index.hr on March 1, 2016.
Croatian Army General Staff has already prepared detailed plans how to use the army to control the borders. The changes to the law would be adopted several months before the expected new wave of refugees from Syria and other countries starts in spring. In addition, this move would try to prevent the opening of new refugee routes through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro towards Croatia.
Speaker of Croatian Parliament Željko Reiner said on Tuesday that the security assessment will decide whether Croatia will send its army to the border while former Defence Minister Ante Kotromanović said that Croatia should not hurry with sending the army.
“I find it hard to say at this moment whether we will send the army to the border. Some countries have already done that”, said Reiner who added that the Parliament has still not received any official proposal.
Former Defence Minister Kotromanović believes that Croatia has enough time to send the armed forces because they can be at the border within two hours. “We need to monitor developments and to force Greece to do what is needed. Then it will be easier for Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria”, he concluded.