ranko ostojic migranti slavonski brod.jpg
Photograph: HINA / mm

Since mid-September, when they first started arriving, 581,590 migrants have passed through Croatia and 31 persons are in the process of readmission, caretaker Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told reporters at the refugee transit centre in Slavonski Brod on Saturday.

He said the readmission was not easy but that Croatia's eastern neighbours were abiding by it. The 31 persons do not meet the conditions introduced on November 16, when Slovenia notified Croatia that it was accepting only refugees from war-hit Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Croatia is applying the same conditions and has notified Serbia and Macedonia, and since new rules were enforced, 1,110 persons were prevented from entering Croatia, he said.

Ostojic reiterated that Croatia would not enter refugee data into the Eurodac system so as not to become a return hot spot for all refugees which were not granted asylum in the rest of the EU. He reiterated that for the data to be entered into Eurodac, refugees should be first registered in the hot spots in Greece, in accordance with an EU plan.

Ostojic said Croatia and Slovenia started exchanging refugee data and that he expected a data exchange system to be established between all countries on the refugee route. He said more would be known on January 15, when the interior ministers of those countries were expected to meet.

Commenting on Slovenia's decision to limit to 840 the number of refugees arriving per train from Croatia, he said it would pose a problem if the influx into Croatia was more than the average 3,000 refugees a day.

He said there had been no incidents at the Slavonski Brod camp and that HRK 114.5 million had been spent so far on refugee care. "From the EU fund for asylum and migration we have received 80% of the EUR 16.4 million approved. This means that all expenses have been covered."

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