With the agreement between the EU and Turkey coming into force, Croatia is preparing to accommodate its share of refugees.
The first two passenger ships transported yesterday 202 migrants, mostly from Pakistan and Bangladesh, from the Greek island of Lesbos to the Turkish port of Dikili, which marked the official beginning of the implementation of the plan to return migrants from Europe to Turkey, in accordance with the agreement signed between Brussels and Ankara, reports Večernji List on April 5, 2016.
At the same time, also in accordance with the agreement which states that for each returned Syrian there will be one Syrian transferred from Turkey to the EU, 43 Syrians arrived in Hamburg in Germany.
“In Croatia, we stand behind our promise that we will fulfil all the obligations and accept 476 refugees from Turkey, but the biggest challenge will be to keep those people in Croatia. Because they will want to continue towards Germany, Austria, Sweden, and the Netherlands”, said Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovač yesterday in Berlin at the conference “Asylum and Migration in the European Union”.
Kovač said that similar agreements about the return of refugees as the one reached with Turkey should be extended to the countries of North Africa. At the same time, he warned that, due to demographic trends, Croatia could in the future become an interesting country for immigrants. “Last year, 50,000 people from Croatia went just to Germany. It is as if Germany were to lose a million working-age inhabitants. When it comes to migrations, we need to think about the possibility that we could also need experts and workers”, said Kovač.
Croatia’s Interior Ministry is holding meetings about where the migrants who will be relocated to Croatia are to be accommodated. According to the plan of the European Commission, Croatia should accept 150 people from Turkey by 20 July. It is expected that the first immigrants will arrive in April.
Possible locations for the accommodation of refugees are Porin Hotel in Zagreb, with the capacity for up to 600 people, and the Centre for Asylum Seekers in Kutina, which can accommodate 100 people. In order to be integrated into society, the refugees will have the right to learn the Croatian language, history, and culture. If they will not have enough money for covering basic needs, the state will provide them with a two-year accommodation.