Johansson Satisfied with Croatia's Reaction to Reports of Violence Against Migrants

By 8 October 2021
Johansson Satisfied with Croatia's Reaction to Reports of Violence Against Migrants

ZAGREB, 8 Oct 2021 - European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson on Friday expressed satisfaction with her talks with Croatian Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović and his announcement of an investigation into reports of illegal expulsion of migrants as well as her dissatisfaction with Greece's reaction.

The Croatian government has taken the reports very seriously and an investigation will be launched promptly, Johansson said, noting that Božinović was shocked and that she believed Croatia was acting as it should, with the clear position that border protection should always be in line with the rule of law and fundamental rights.

The European commissioner held meetings on Thursday evening with Božinović and Greek Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi.

A number of European media outlets on Wednesday evening broadcast disturbing videos of forcible expulsion of migrants in Croatia's territory and Greece. The videos, made with the help of drones, show men wearing balaclavas and uniforms resembling those worn by Croatian police as they drive migrants out towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Johansson said that Croatia would carry out an investigation, using the independent mechanism of supervision established together with the European Commission.

That is the right response, she noted.

On the other hand, she expressed dissatisfaction with the Greek minister's reaction to the media reports, noting that the EC would not tolerate the Greek government's failure to investigate the allegations.

Johansson said that the EU's external borders had to be protected but that the rule of law and fundamental rights had to be preserved in the process.

Asked by reporters what would be done if it proved true that Croatia used the money it obtained from EU funds to control the border for the accommodation of personnel taking part in forcible expulsions of migrants, EC spokesman Adalbert Jahnz said on Thursday that an investigation would be launched.

Jahnz noted that the EC was closely following how European money is spent and if it turns out that it has been used for illegal activities, payments may be suspended, penalties imposed or a refund of the money demanded.

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