Representatives of the EU border management agency Frontex will be deployed on the Croatian-Serbian border, which is one of the points of an agreement reached at a meeting in Brussels on Sunday, focusing on the Western Balkan migrant route.
“The European external border guard is expected to be deployed on the Croatian-Serbian border, which in theory should slow down the flow and arrival of (migrants and refugees) due to a slightly stricter procedure, naturally on the condition that everything functions normally, from Greece to Macedonia and to Serbia. If that will be like that, it will be good, and if not, we will be in charge of the situation until it is over, our citizens’ normal daily routine will remain unaffected. It would be good for this entire situation to end as soon as possible and that depends primarily on Turkey and Germany,” Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said after the meeting.
The meeting had been called by European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker and it brought together the leaders of eight EU member-states and three non-members. Its purpose was to try and reach an agreement on how to improve the cooperation between all countries intersected by the migrant route running from Greece to Germany.
Frontex personnel should be deployed in Sid, a town in Serbia close to the border with Croatia, and help control border entries and registration of refugees.
The Brussels meeting also agreed on the deployment of Frontex personnel on the Greek-Macedonian border.
A 17-point plan was agreed at the Brussels meeting and it is expected to ensure better cooperation and a slightly slower flow of migrants until an agreement is reached with Turkey on stopping the refugee wave.
Asked to comment on statements by Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar, who upon arriving in Brussels for the meeting said that he expected Croatia to start behaving differently from how it had been until now, Milanovic said that Cerar made no such statement at the meeting.
“He made no such statement at the meeting, what he said there was that Greece is the problem. I don’t want to trade barbs with him now. We had talked many times before all this began and we continue to be in touch. If he has the need to say such things for internal political purposes, I won’t hold it against him. It would be stupid of me now to accuse Slovenia of not having prepared despite our conversations that lasted a month, or to accuse Greece. Everything is clear, this has been going on for too long and it burdens Austria and Germany the most, while Slovenia and Croatia are less affected, so why all the fuss, it even seems insincere. If Croatia can do it, so can Slovenia,” said Milanovic.
He added that he knew Cerar very well and that he saw no reason for any tension.