ZAGREB, March 13, 2019 – Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Wednesday that Croatia protects its borders like any other country. “If any of the European countries wants illegal migrants, we can open a corridor and let them through as we did in 2015. But we know that this isn’t so, that, for example, Germany and Austria don’t want them, that Slovenia and Hungary have erected wire fences. Every country in the world protects its borders and so does Croatia, and we will not allow illegal migration,” Božinović said in an interview with Croatian Radio.
Speaking of the latest report by the human rights watchdog Amnesty International, which accused Croatia and other countries of violence against migrants, Božinović dismissed the accusations, saying that his ministry had immediately responded to the organisation’s report.
“Whenever any irregularities or unacceptable behaviour are identified, as is the case of a police officer who tried to ‘teach’ migrants football chants, they are penalised. The young police officer has promptly been removed from service and another two are facing disciplinary action. On the other hand, there are quite a few examples of Croatian police assisting migrants, such as the case of a badly injured migrant who was rescued in rugged terrain and was hospitalised,” the minister said.
Speaking of the case of Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac, who hit a 10-year-old girl while driving through a residential area in the eastern town of Vinkovci on Saturday, Božinović said that the police had done their part of the job professionally.
He said that the police cannot bring charges if there are no grounds. “I have consulted reports on similar cases of car accidents that resulted in the injury of pedestrians and have found many cases in which the police did not bring criminal charges because there were no grounds in those particular cases. The case of Minister Žalac is now in the County Attorney’s hands.”
Žalac was found to be driving with a driving licence that had expired in 2016. Božinović said that 1,759 drivers had been fined this year for driving without a valid driving licence, adding that the annual average was over 13,000.
More news about the migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.