Austria and Germany did not limit the intake of refugees and migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, so there was no reason for Slovenia to impose any limits either, Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said at the Opatovac refugee reception centre, eastern Croatia on Wednesday, stressing that Croatia was ready to keep half of the refugees and transport the other half further west.
“The main problem (in Slovenia) arose when they decided to carry out time-consuming detailed registration, which is unnecessary since it wasn’t done in Greece in the first place. Our system is much faster and they could have applied it. The entire procedure should be accelerated because these people don’t want to stay in Slovenia or in Croatia. They are in transit,” Ostojic said. He admitted that Croatia had had “a couple of crisis situations” with the refugees but they had been overcome.
Ostojic said that the European Union had offered Croatia police and personnel assistance at the start of the crisis. “Croatia has its own border police with a sufficient number of men. Our response was that such assistance should be sent to the source of the problem, which is the Greek border.”
When asked by the press to comment on the possible deployment of police forces from other EU member states on Slovenia’s Schengen border with Croatia, Ostojic said he had no such information. “As for other police forces, when Frontex’s working teams come, they are not other police. Our police officers serve in the Frontex mission in Greece, and there is also a Frontex team, which includes Slovenian police officers, at Bajakovo (on the Croatian border with Serbia). I don’t see that as a problem, but when military and police forces from other countries come to your border, that’s not a friendly act.”
Ostojic confirmed that this morning too there had been attempts by refugees and migrants to enter Croatia illegally at Bapska. “In the end they all end up here in Opatovac. No one has crossed this line,” he said.
During the night 1,800 refugees and migrants arrived at the Opatovac centre. Their number at the centre at 10am was about 3,000.