Despites Migrant Crisis, Croatia Still Preparing to Enter Schengen

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Will the Schengen area survive long enough for Croatia to enter?

A year later than planned, construction works at the transit centre for the accommodation of immigrants in Tovarnik near Vukovar have finally been completed. Technical inspection of the facility has been conducted, deficiencies are being eliminated, and workers are bringing in furniture, reports Večernji List on March 27, 2016.

“The police told us that the centre would accommodate around 90 asylum seekers who will spend here up to two years. Now they are saying that perhaps Frontex police officers will come instead. They are being quite secretive, so I would like to go to Zagreb to ask Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić what is going on here”, said Ruža Veselčić-Šijaković, the Mayor of Tovarnik.

While they were not involved in the construction of the centre, the locals are hoping they will get jobs there once the centre opens, so they wonder where they should submit their job applications. The Mayor does not know what to say since the Interior Ministry has still not announced anything. “I know that 40 police officers will work here, but also 15 other employees. Tovarnik cannot provide police officers, psychologists, translators… but we can provide janitors, cleaning personnel, cooks… I hope that they will employ local people at those jobs because otherwise we would not have any benefit from the centre, and we gave them the plot of land and co-financed the construction with 260,000 kunas”, said the Mayor.

The value of the construction works at the centre was estimated at three million euros. The EU funds have provided in total eight million euros for this centre, as well as for the construction of the reception centre in Trilj and for an increase in the capacity of the reception centre in Ježevo.

Another 120 million euros have been provided for the reconstruction and construction of 40 border crossings and the purchase of equipment, which are all prerequisites for joining the Schengen border area. But, the construction of the centre in Trilj has also been delayed for a year. The Interior Ministry now claims that the completion of construction works in Trilj is expected by 15 May.


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