Grabar-Kitarović Expects EU to Realise Union is Defended on Croatian Border

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 4, 2019 – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Thursday on the green border in Rakovica, 120 kilometres southwest of Zagreb, that she expected the European Union to realise that the Union was defended on the Croatian border and that she expected a positive opinion on Croatia fulfilling Schengen criteria.

The president held a working meeting in Slunj with the Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Mirko Šundov and local government and police officials to discuss the situation and problems of illegal migration, after which she inspected the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina with Interior Minister Davor Božinović.

“Croatia, as the EU’s external border, cannot allow illegal entries, and our primary and absolute objective is to protect national interests, protect the population on our side of the border,” Grabar-Kitarović said, thanking the police for their efforts in such a difficult and dangerous job.

Local authorities said that there had been no incidents concerning migrants and Grabar-Kitarović commended the police for their cooperation.

Minister Božinović said that there was coordination between all stakeholders, local authorities and public institutions, noting that the police, along with the army, were ranked second highest with regard to citizens’ trust.

He said that accusations against police behaviour were the result of unsatisfied migrants who cannot proceed further after crossing thousands of kilometres and added that “Croatia is a sovereign state with professionally trained people in the police and army and other constituents of homeland security.”

“We have solutions for every challenge and situation. According to surveys, Croatia is one of the safest countries in the EU, but it has the most challenging, most complex, and longest land border in the EU. But with people like this we have nothing to fear,” said Božinović.

The President added that she would intensify talks with colleagues in the EU and European Commission because newly-appointed members of the Commission need to be informed of these problems because they aren’t just Croatia’s problems but the EU’s too.

“It is in our interest for Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries in southeast Europe to enter the EU as soon as possible because that would resolve the pressure of migrants to some extent, but until then it is necessary to invite EU officials to come out into the field to talk with residents on the Croatian side and see what the conditions on the Bosnian side are like,” she said, adding that Croatia did not want to become a “hot-spot” for migrants.

“I expect a positive opinion on Croatia fulfilling Schengen criteria, which is nearing completion, and for us to enter the Schengen Area and then for all of the EU and Frontex to be involved here even though, for now, Croatian police forces are sufficient, with the technical support we have, to protect the Croatian border,” she said.

She said that Croatia would continue to fulfil the criteria for membership of the Schengen Area and expected the EU’s assistance with funding for the Schengen Area and border protection.

More news about the migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.


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