Iimportant guest arrives in Zagreb.
European Council President Donald Tusk visited Zagreb today and met with Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković. “We have discussed the migrant crisis, focusing on three main topics. We will support the Schengen rules. We have agreed that the greatest burden is now on Greece and that we have to help Greece as much as we can. The third topic was the support for Macedonia, where we have our police officers. There is excellent coordination between Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. We expect stronger support from the EU so that we can help Macedonia”, said Orešković at the beginning of the press conference after the meeting. The Prime Minister confirmed that the government will propose the law that will allow the military to take part in guarding the border, but only “for humanitarian operations and in order to help the police”, reports Večernji List on March 2, 2016.
“Croatia, region and entire Europe are facing a great challenge due to an unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants. This is a crisis which has tested the limits of our Union. It has caused tensions between EU member states and neighbouring countries. We must avoid the illusion that instead of full respect of the Schengen rules we can find another sustainable European solution”, said Tusk after the talks.
“I will say clearly that there is no alternative to respecting the Schengen rules. I know it is hard, but only the Schengen rules can be the basis for a comprehensive European solution”, Tusk said, adding that it will be the topic on the next meeting of the European Council. He stressed that the first priority is to urgently stop the inflow of illegal immigrants and return the “integrity” of the Schengen area. “Member states must refuse the inflow of migrants from third countries who do not qualify and who do not seek asylum”, Tusk said, pointing out that all EU countries should help Greece and other countries on the migrant route. “The EU understands the difficult situation for the authorities in Skopje. We cannot and we must not leave them alone in this situation”, said Tusk, adding that there is no alternative to cooperation with Turkey.
Before coming to Croatia, Tusk visited Slovenia where he sought support for a common European response to the refugee crisis. Last night, together with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar he voiced his support for the effective implementation of the Schengen regime. In the migrant centre in Dobova in Slovenia, Tusk said that the common response of the EU should be based on two key principles, renewal of the Schengen regime and providing humanitarian assistance to migrants.