A meeting of heads of state or government of 28 European Union member-states with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on how to handle the migration crisis is scheduled for Monday in Brussels, and Croatia’s Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic is due to attend the event.
This past week, European Council President Donald Tusk went on a tour of the countries along the Balkan migrant route ahead of the summit with Turkey and a European Council meeting at which a comprehensive European plan for the migrant crisis is expected to be adopted.
During his visit to Zagreb last Wednesday, Tusk and his host, PM Oreskovic agreed that there was no alternative to the Schengen regime in tackling the migrant crisis
“There’s no alternative to respecting the Schengen Code. Only the Schengen rules can be the basis of a comprehensive European solution,” Tusk said at a joint press conference in Zagreb.
Oreskovic said that the Schengen rules should be observed and that Greece, which is taking the brunt of the refugee crisis, should be assisted as much as possible. He added that assistance should also be extended to Macedonia, where Croatia has already sent its police support.
In his invitation letter to the EU heads of state or government for the meetings on 7 March, Tusk writes “First, we need to get back to Schengen. The countries of the Western Balkans route, also those outside the EU, are all ready and determined to return to the full application of our common rules and decisions, including the Schengen Borders Code. This will mean an end to the so-called wave-through policy of migrants. It will not solve the crisis but it is a necessary pre-condition for a European consensus. On Monday, we should all confirm this approach. With that we will close the Western Balkans route, which was the main entry point for migrants with 880.000 entering in 2015 alone and 128.000 in the first two months of this year.”