Grabar-Kitarovic not excluding possible fence on border


In an interview with the CBNC, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that she is not excluding the possibility of a fence being put up on the Croatian border in order to stop the migrant flow which she considers to be mostly economic migrants and that their influx into the country is affecting Croatia’s tourism.

“I would like to avoid the situation where we have to put any kind of physical barrier on the border… I don’t know about the fence, I don’t exclude it as a possibility in the future,” she said, adding that any decision Croatia takes regarding borders will be coordinated with the rest of the European Union and that it would not be an aggressive policy.

“We have to admit that every country has to protect its own borders. I don’t look at this [Hungary’s fence] as an act against anyone. The fact of the matter is that we have been flooded with migrant flows, and it has become very difficult to manage the flow of people,” Grabar-Kitarovic told CNBC.

She said neither Croatia nor Hungary were migrants’ destinations.

We do not wish to isolate ourselves. We do not wish to seal off the border. We empathise very much with those people who are on the road, regardless of their reasons. We have to find a solution at the European and global levels. At the European level that means stronger control at the border between Turkey and Greece because Greece is the first entry point into the EU, the president said.

“Around 80 percent of the people whom I met, an average day in Croatia’s migrant flow, are economic migrants, not coming from Syria or Iraq but coming from elsewhere,” she noted. “The EU cannot take in all the poor people so we have to work in order to improve the conditions of life in the countries where these people are coming from.”

The president believes that the migrant crisis has affected Croatia’s tourism because people see this as an element of insecurity, even though migrants are passing through only a small section of the country which is not part of the main tourism zone.

Hungary on Monday said that it was satisfied that it had successfully stopped the transit of migrants through its territory when it sealed the border with Serbia and Croatia, adding that only 41 migrants had entered the country on Sunday, the lowest number since the start of the year, AFP has reported.

The closing of the borders is functioning and has efficiently stopped illegal entries, government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told a press conference.

These people crossed the border from Serbia, while not one crossing was recorded on the Croatian border, Gyorgy Bakondi, an adviser to Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said.