Interior Minister Visits North Macedonia, Discusses Migration

By 26 February 2019

ZAGREB, February 26, 2019 - Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović began a two-day visit to North Macedonia by meeting with his counterpart Oliver Spasovksi in Skopje on Monday evening.

Spasovski thanked Croatia for police assistance in dealing with the migrant crisis and for political support in helping his country on the path to membership of the European Union and NATO. "This is yet another confirmation of our friendship and cooperation," Spasovski said after the meeting, thanking Croatian police for helping their Macedonian colleagues in securing the border with Greece.

"This is very important for Macedonia and the whole region. This model shows how cooperation in dealing with crises such as migration, which has hit all of us, should be functioning," he added.

Spasovski said they had discussed bilateral relations, combating organised and cross-border crime, the integration of North Macedonia into NATO, and the sharing of Croatia's experience from the EU accession process.

Božinović said that the Croatian parliament would ratify North Macedonia's NATO accession protocol most likely by the end of this week, adding that this was a major step for stability and security in the region and for the country's EU membership bid.

Božinović expressed hope that North Macedonia would open EU membership negotiations as soon as possible, adding that one of the priorities of the Croatian presidency of the EU in the first half of 2020 would be further EU enlargement.

"It will certainly be the period in which both Croatia and North Macedonia will do as much work as possible regarding (Macedonia's) EU integration," the Croatian minister said.

He said he was glad to hear that the hosts were satisfied with the cooperation between the two countries, especially with the cooperation with the Croatian police deployed at border crossings with Greece to prevent illegal migration.

"This route which runs from Greece stops before the Croatian border and that's why it is very important to us to cooperate with all these countries to improve this entire process, all the procedures that protect the security of our border and the security of our citizens and our guests," Božinović said.

He noted that migration was one of six priority areas of cooperation between the EU and membership aspirants, adding that during its EU presidency Croatia would organise a special conference on this matter.

Božinović said that North Macedonia and other countries in the region have in Croatia their staunchest advocate in the EU institutions.

On Tuesday, Božinović is scheduled to attend a Brdo Process conference and visit Croatian police deployed along the Macedonian border with Greece.

More news about relations between Croatia and Macedonia can be found in the Politics section.