Interior Minister: There Is No Danger of New Migrant Wave Hitting Croatia

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Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić says there are no signs that a new migrant wave might hit Croatia.

At this point, there is really nothing to indicate that there will be a large migrant wave which would reach Croatia or Europe, said Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić, reports on September 27, 2016.

“There is no place for ‘fear’. It is true that Europe is in a latent state of migrant crisis. Croatia as a member of the European Union shares that fate, and the recent summit of countries on the migrant route in Vienna was simply a result of the need to find the best and most rational solutions”, said Orepić.

He noted that EU members had focused their reaction towards a common solution for the migrant crisis, and that common solution is to try to maintain the agreement between the European Union and Turkey. The other point is an agreement on a common protection of EU external borders, which has not been sufficiently emphasized or implemented until now.

Asked about the number of illegal attempts to cross the Croatian-Serbian border, Orepić said that such attempts happen every day, but it is encouraging that, from about a hundred attempts a day a month ago, the number is now down to some 10 to 15 attempts per day.

When asked what would happen if larger migrant wave were to reach Croatia, and whether Croatia had necessary accommodation capacities, he said there was no need to reflect on this situation in such a way. “At this moment, there is really nothing to indicate that there will be a large migrant wave. There is a latent danger, it is true, but if these common objectives are met, I am confident that the migrant wave will not arrive”, he stressed.

He was asked whether it would not be wise to have a “plan B”, which would make it possible to raise a border fence and engage military, given that neighbouring countries such as Hungary, Austria and Slovenia have already done that to some extent. “We have the plan B, but the fact is that we have not caused the migrant crisis and we will not solve it. During the wave last year, we were dealing with consequences, and we would do it now as well. It is very important to be rational”, said Orepić.

In recent days, NGOs have reported that, due to the Dublin Protocol, a number of migrants who entered the EU last year are now being returned to Croatia. Orepić said that Croatia was a responsible member of the EU. “We will carry out our obligations. We have the obligation to accept these people, as well as to accommodate another 1,582 people”, he said. “I emphasize that Croatia is an active participant and creator of the common EU security policy”, he noted, adding that Croatia had the necessary resources for returning migrants.


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