kolinda grabar kitarović, migranti, makedonija.jpg
Photograph: EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Investing money in the transit of migrants in European countries is a worse solution than investing it in conflict-ridden countries where the money could be invested in stopping wars and in reconstruction, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Friday in Bratislava, where she arrived for the GLOBSEC 2016 global security forum.

"When you compare the fact that Croatia has spent about 20 million euros for the transit of migrants and that in four years we will invest one million euros in Syria, you see the discrepancy, how much money has been spent and how much could have been invested in conflict-ridden countries to stop the war, help reconstruction and refugee camps," she told Croatian reporters before the start of the forum.

Speaking about security in Europe, she said the refugee crisis was a humanitarian issue, but also a very complex issue of national security, of migrant integration, and an economic and social issue.

She said that a few days ago she spoke with a group of migrants in Gevgelija, Macedonia and that "each one wants to get to Germany... They said they felt invited and that they wanted to take the chance they had in Germany... None of us doubts that everyone is entitled to a better life, but the question is the integration capability of European states."

GLOBSEC 2016, taking place until Sunday, will address the refugee crisis, an upcoming NATO summit, the future of the European project with an emphasis on Brexit, and the future of transatlantic relations "after Obama."

In attendance are the presidents of Croatia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Macedonia, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the German defence minister, the foreign ministers of Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine, and representatives of NATO and the EU.

Grabar-Kitarovic said such conferences were very important and that they should result in "steps which give ideas to the governments themselves." She said she would meet with a number of officials, including the Slovak hosts, as well as representatives of several big companies, "at which I expect the establishment of certain ties towards Croatia and the Croatian economy."

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