"Croatia Will Not Allow Illegal Migrations"

By 13 July 2018

ZAGREB, July 13, 2018 - The migrant crisis, cooperation in Southeast Europe and prevention of people smuggling were the main topics of a two-day meeting in Innsbruck, Austria, of EU home affairs ministers, including Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović.

"Croatia will continue to protect its borders. We will not allow illegal migrations, while at the same time we show humanity and solidarity with those who really need help," Božinović told reporters on Thursday.

The ministers presented their views after on June 28 the European Council adopted conclusions on a comprehensive EU-level approach to addressing the migrant crisis. The European Council is meeting again in October, by which time the ministers and the Commission should prepare more specific proposals around which it would be possible to reach an agreement.

Croatia insists on working with countries along the so-called Balkan route to provide them with political, professional and financial assistance "because by helping them we are actually helping the European Union," Božinović said. "If these countries are more effective, there will be fewer illegal migrants at the borders of the EU, including Croatia," he added.

Božinović said that the EU border and coast guard agency Frontex would be given more funds to expand its activities and increase the number of personnel.

Speaking of the eastern Mediterranean migrant route, he said that it was important to conclude status agreements between those countries and Frontex as soon as possible so that Frontex could also deploy its personnel on the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and possibly other countries in that area.

Asked how that would affect Bosnia and Herzegovina, Božinović said that migrants were already in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but that the Croatian border police were "very efficient and very flexibly organised." He added that Europe was concerned about criminal groups that were active within the EU because of high profits from people smuggling. "We are dealing with this very efficiently, I would say. Some 194 cases have been dealt with this year alone, so I don't think this business will pay off for them in the future."