Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia agreed to boost cooperation in dealing with irregular migration following a meeting of the three interior ministers in Trieste on Thursday after reintroducing border checks in October.
The three ministers – Matteo Piantedosi, Boštjan Poklukar, and Davor Božinović – agreed to launch joint border patrols, set up joint reception centres for foreigners, and holder regular three-way ministerial meetings to exchange key information, Croatia’s news agency Hina reported.
Slovenia reintroduced police checks at its borders with Croatia and Hungary on 21 October, despite all three countries being members of the EU’s borderless Schengen area.
Italy did the same along the border with Slovenia. Italy’s Piantedosi said border surveillance was reinstated based on terrorism threat assessments.
“This brought about some measures that were not well received in Croatia, or Slovenia, or Italy, but they were necessitated based on our expert analyses, especially after the war in Israel.”
Croatia’s Interior Minister Božinović said the security issue “is of key interest for our citizens. Our obligation is to boost it through joint cooperation, which has no alternative. No country can deal with this alone”.
He pointed out that numerous migrants abuse the institute of asylum in Croatia only to move on illegally towards Western Europe.
Croatia lies on the so-called Balkan route, used by many migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, who come to Greece from Turkey and then travel across the Balkans to the EU and Schengen member Croatia.
Zagreb reported an “unprecedented” number of migrants crossing over this summer from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, with which Croatia shares a long and rugged land border that is difficult to control.
“The problem is the route, not Croatia,” Piantedosi said.
(Zoran Radosavljević Euractiv.com)
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