Ranko Ostojic urges joint European solution to refugee crisis


 Croatian Minister of the Interior Ranko Ostojic called from the refugee reception centre at Opatovac, eastern Croatia, on Wednesday for a common European solution to the current migrant crisis, while a total of 44,000 people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, northern Africa and Asia have passed through Croatia on their way to western Europe since last Wednesday.

“Do not make us suffer, this is a torture of all and a torture of one country after another. We should open a normal humanitarian corridor and solve all this,” Ostojic said.
He added that refugees, who were arriving in Croatia via the eastern village of Bapska, were being taken by bus to the reception centre at Opatovac.
“There are two sections in the centre, for medical triage and for security checks. This has been going on for too long and we have to move them from the area at the entrance to the reception centre so that they do not stand in the sun there and so that the entire area could be cleaned up and disinfected,” Ostojic said.
Asked about the situation on the Bajakovo-Batrovci border crossing on the border with Serbia, Ostojic said that as far as Croatia was concerned, the border crossing was not closed either to cars or to buses.
“Unfortunately, there has been a riot of truck drivers on the Serbian side who are preventing efforts to make order and enable passenger traffic. Since the Serbian side is unable to cope with that, a pile-up has been caused which they are not dealing with. This is probably a form of pressure on Croatia to open the crossing for cargo traffic,” the minister said.
He added that in the meantime Croatia had opened the border crossings of Tovarnik and Gunja for passenger traffic.
“The Croatian government has decided that trucks with perishable goods should be let through but their Serbian colleagues say it’s either all or no one.”
Commenting on claims from Serbia that Serbian authorities have nothing to do with directing refugees towards Croatia, Ostojic said that in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday 3,500 migrants had arrived in Croatia via Bapska.
“I am being told that that crossing is easy to find. I am an experienced scout and would have difficulty finding it. And we have here buses arriving in an organised manner 100 metres from the border crossing where there is not a single Serbian police officer,” said Ostojic.
He added that his message to Serbian authorities was to “keep doing what they have been doing, but to do it on the nice and neat border crossing of Horgos on the border with Hungary.”
Reporters also wanted to know who was financing the stay of refugees in Croatia, to which the minister said that Croatia had not received any financial assistance from the EU for refugees and that at the moment it was using its buffer stocks.