Croatia’s president and prime minister differ sharply on the handling of the migrant crisis.
The possible arrival of policemen or soldiers from the countries of the Visegrad Group to the Hungarian-Croatian border should not be seen as a hostile act toward Croatia, but as protection of the Schengen borders and the application of the Schengen principles which Croatia, as a country which wants to enter the Schengen Area, is not applying, said Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović at the two-day summit of the Visegrad Group in Hungary, where she participated as a guest, reports Jutarnji List and RTL on October 10, 2015.
“This should not be seen as a hostile act towards Croatia or anyone else, but as the protection of the Schengen borders. Croatia has conducted itself pretty badly throughout this crisis when it comes to control of the passage of people”, said the president. “Sending police officers from other countries of the Visegrad Group to the Hungarian border – and not just to the border with Croatia – has the aim of controlling who is crossing the borders”, said the president.
She stated that “it does not matter who is on their borders, the Hungarian police or their allies”, since the green border must be controlled, while the official border crossings remain open. President said that Croatia is not controlling its borders, although there is no need for anyone to enter Croatia without control, since the experts from the Croatian Army told her that they have technical and other possibilities for much tougher borders control and channelling people who are trying to cross the border towards legal border crossings. She said she did not know when Hungary will close its border towards Croatia because they had not discussed it at the summit, nor had it been a topic of her bilateral talks in Hungary.
“I repeat that the most important thing is to protect the border between Greece and Turkey as an external border of the EU and the Schengen Area, and it is necessary to share the responsibility at the global level, because in the long-term the resolution of the migrant crisis and its root causes must include the United Nations and other countries in the world, like the US”, said the Croatian president.
Commenting on the president’s visit to Hungary, prime minister Zoran Milanović said that the president should have been in Croatia on Independence Day, and that he did not know she would go to Budapest. “We are not participating in these meetings, you cannot stop the president, she is doing what she thinks is good for Croatia, but I do not understand this move”, said Milanović and stressed that his company are the European Commission, Juncker, Merkel, Faymann, Cerar – modern, progressive Europe. “I do not know what is on the other side of the border fence, but that is not Croatia”, said the Croatian prime minister.
“I have talked with everyone, including chancellor Merkel. Hungary is irrelevant and we have concluded that the construction of any wall towards Serbia would destabilize the region”, said Milanović. “Hungary is the black spot of Europe at the moment thanks to its prime minister who was first an active Communist, then a liberal, he was everything. And now the president says that the system in Croatia has collapsed – but Croatian system is exemplary. That view is shared by all European statesmen. Everyone chooses their own company. My company are Angela Merkel, Faymann, Cerar, despite some misunderstandings between Croatia and Slovenia”, concluded the prime minister.
From midnight to 9 pm yesterday, 7,495 migrants entered Croatia. Currently there are 4,022 migrants at the Opatovac temporary reception centre. Since the beginning of the migration crisis in the region, Croatia has accepted 144,218 migrants.