Number of Illegal Crossings of Border Reduced by 97%

Total Croatia News

Balkan migrant route remains closed.

In January, there were only 1,959 illegal crossings of external borders of the European Union in the Western Balkans, announced Frontex, the agency in charge of the European Border and Coast Guard, reports Večernji List on February 14, 2017.

That is as much as 97 percent fewer illegal crossings than in January 2016, before an agreement between the European Union and Turkey was reached and before the closing of the passage on the so-called Western Balkan route. In January 2016, there were 65,300 attempted illegal border crossings.

Croatian Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić said that the number of migrants arriving on the Balkan route was negligible at the moment, but that the route was still the site of illegal criminal acts – such as smuggling of people and goods.

Most migrants on the route were people from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. Migrants from these countries are also the most numerous among asylum seekers in Croatia. Compared to 2015, the number of asylum seekers in Croatia has increased by as much as 959 percent. However, despite the fact that, after entering Croatia, they fill in the necessary documents and formally declare that they want to stay, for most migrants Croatia is not the desired final destination. Therefore, it is quite often that people who have requested asylum in Croatia are the ones who are later apprehended trying to illegally leave Croatia and reach Western Europe.

Interior Minister Orepić has repeatedly said that for many migrants Croatia is just a stopover. And that is precisely the reason why Croatia has not fulfilled its commitment to accept 1,563 migrants as its quota for redistribution of European migrants, which Croatia is obliged to fulfil as a member state of the European Union. So far, Croatia has received just about 20 migrants, and another 50 from Greece and Italy are in the process of being relocated. “One of the reasons for the slow fulfilling of the quota is that these people simply do not want to come to Croatia”, said Orepić.

The Minister said he was satisfied with the way the police is stopping the entry of illegal migrants in Croatia, which is greatly helped by technical equipment which was recently acquired and in which the government has recently invested considerable funds.


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