Croatia Won't Allow Illegal Migrations, Interior Minister Says

By 2 September 2019

ZAGREB, September 2, 2019 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović said in a television interview on Sunday evening that the migrant wave was less intense than four years ago but that the number of illegal migrants had increased, adding that Croatia was following the rules and would not allow illegal migrations.

"The migrant wave has actually never stopped. It is much less intense than in 2015 and 2016. The main difference is that in 2015 migrants were invited to western Europe, while the situation today is completely different," Božinović told the HRT public television service.

He said that the EU today obviously did not want to take in illegal migrants anymore and that Croatia, given the fact that it has the longest external border of the European Union, was withstanding the pressure.

Božinović said that Croatia was aware of the complex situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina given its internal relations and division of powers, adding that the problem was not the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia but "the fact that, according to their own admissions, they are doing nothing on the eastern border of Bosnia and Herzegovina where migrants are entering the country."

The minister said that the number of illegal migrants had increased compared to last year. "Croatian police are abiding by the law and are not allowing illegal migrants into Croatia," he said.

Asked if Croatia had the resources to deal with the increased number of people smugglers, 589 of whom have been arrested so far this year compared to 600 in the whole of 2018, Božinović said that the police had the necessary resources and were much better organised in combating illegal migration.

As for Croatia's bid to join the Schengen passport-free area, Božinović said that a confirmation of the country's technical preparedness was expected this month. He said that seven chapters had been closed and one more was expected to be closed within the next week or two, after which a political decision would follow.

"It is very much in Europe's interest for Croatia to become a Schengen member," the interior minister said.

More news about migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.