Where will all the migrants go?
Interior ministers of the European Union held another meeting in Brussels yesterday in the search for a common solution to the refugee crisis, which further intensified following the decision of Austria to limit the number of those who will be allowed to enter the country. This has caused a domino effect in other countries on the so-called Western Balkan route. Control of the border between Greece and Macedonia has been strengthened, which caused the number of migrants in Greece to increase dramatically. Greece reacted harshly to such measures, and even threatened to block all EU decisions if a quick solution is not found, report Jutarnji List and Večernji List on February 26, 2016.
Croatian Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić took part in the meeting. He said that the ministers were still seeking a common solution and repeated what everybody keeps saying – that it would be best for the solution to be found on the Greek-Turkish border, where migrants enter the EU territory. “Yesterday’s meeting in Vienna and today’s meeting in Brussels have tried to define a shared responsibility and individual responsibility of all members. We are moving towards a solution. Now we are profiling migrants on the Macedonian-Greek border. However, some new restrictions have been introduced and that was the topic of these meetings. It is therefore necessary to find a common EU approach towards the migrant crisis”, said Orepić in Brussels.
He added that at present there is no reason to think that a new migrant route through Albania could open, given that there is a large number of refugees stranded in Greece after Macedonia tightened the border regime. However, he did not want to speculate what might happen later.
Albanian media reported that the local police had increased patrols on the border with Greece and had already discovered a small group of Pakistani migrants who were returned to Greece. For the last several weeks, there have been rumours that refugees from Greece may divert towards Albania. From there, they could continue through Kosovo to Serbia, through Montenegro to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, or go across the sea to Italy.
European Union has major expectations from the forthcoming summit with Turkey which will take place on 7 March in Brussels.
Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovač also spoke yesterday about the migrant crisis. “For now, the Croatian plan is to continue coordination with its neighbours, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Austria, and to control the flow of refugees at the border between Greece and Macedonia. We can be proud of the work of the Croatian police and with the coordination with the neighbours. We will follow the policy of our northern neighbours. If Austrians introduce stricter measures, Slovenia will do the same and we will follow. In any case, we will be ready for more stricter measures”, said the minister.
“Croatia is already helping with our navy in the Mediterranean, and we are willing to stay involved. Croatia is giving its contribution, but we need a long-term European solution. What we can say is that Croatia will act humanely and efficiently”, said the foreign minister.