EC seeks from Croatia explanation of border blockade


The European Commission will ask Croatia to provide an urgent explanation of its decision to close the border with Serbia because its first estimates indicate serious issues regarding the decision’s compatibility with Serbia’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said on Friday.

We have begun an analysis to see if the restrictions, notably those imposed by Croatia, are in line with the SAA and the customs union, and our first estimates indicate serious issues regarding the compatibility of the restrictions with the SAA and the customs union and, in this context, the Commission will request an explanation from the Croatian authorities, she said.

Our main message is that a solution should be found. The EU High Representative for the Foreign and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, has called for a constructive approach which will make it possible to solve the problem and resume trade. In that context, we are asking for an explanation from the Croatian authorities, Kocijancic said.

She reiterated the Commission’s position that closing borders was not a solution, that the refugee issue must be dealt with collectively and regionally, and that this must not have a disproportionate, discriminatory impact on trade and traffic.

She said intensive contacts were under way with Croatia and Serbia, adding that Mogherini had discussed the matter in the morning with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and Serbia’s Aleksandar Vucic.

Croatia has closed its border with Serbia because Serbia has been sending all refugees arriving from the Middle East to the Croatian border in an organised fashion and none to the Hungarian border.

The government posted on its Twitter account Milanovic’s statement that he was discussing with his associates the possibility of revoking the border measures “today or tomorrow”.