Prime Minister Visits Croatian Navy Ship Which Helps Save Migrants

By 30 August 2015

Croatian Prime Minister on visit to the Croatian navy helping with the migrant crisis. 

Croatian Navy Ship "Andrija Mohorovičić", which takes part in the EU humanitarian operation "Triton" and has saved the lives of numerous migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, was visited today by prime minister Zoran Milanović and defence minister Ante Kotromanović, reports Index.hr on August 30, 2015.

The ship is currently in Catania, Sicily, and will leave the port in three days in order to continue with its rescue mission in which it will participate until the end of October. "We have participated in eight search and rescue operations for migrants at sea and have successfully rescued 1,388 individuals", said Lieutenant Commander Vlade Zoko, the commander of the 1st Croatian contingent in the operation "Triton".

"Croatia has made a firm decision to join the EU humanitarian operation. We are proud of it because that shows what kind of a country we are. These are professionals who are doing serious work", said on Sunday in Catania the Croatian prime minister Zoran Milanović after he visited "Andrija Mohorovičić".

"This is a major vessel for Croatia. We are a small country and when you look who is here, you can see that these are either large or wealthy countries. That is the reason why these people need to be congratulated, because this is hard work", said Milanović to reporters who accompanied him on a visit to Sicily.

Asked how Croatia will respond to a possible influx of refugees from neighbouring countries, Milanović said that the situation is being closely monitored and that the state is ready to come to the rescue, because "these are people who are looking for a better life, they want to go to the richest countries in Europe. I think these people should be given the opportunity to work, to create, to pay taxes, to contribute, because they certainly will not go back", said the prime minister.

When asked what does it mean for a country which has been in the EU for just two years to participate in its first international search and rescue operation, Milanović stressed that Croatia has been in Afghanistan for 13 years, stating that its participation in the first mission of this kind paves the way for other small countries and gives a major contribution.

The prime minister rejected the journalists' argument that Croatia was opposed to the EU's binding quotas for refugees, stressing that it only wanted for the European Commission to take the lead in resolving the issue. "We have supported the solutions to this issue", said Milanović.