Vanja Bakalović (D),  Inicijativa „Dobrodošli!“, Vedrana Baričević (L), Valter Cvijić .jpg
Photograph: HINA / Tomislav PAVLEK / mm

The civil society organisation "Welcome" on Friday condemned the EU's treatment of persons seeking protection and safety, expressing concern about the insufficient preparedness of Croatian state institutions for the reception of refugees.

"The very budgets of Croatia and the EU put more emphasis on control and defence instead of on integration. At the same time, the fence that was put up on a border crossing on the border with Serbia on Thursday is not something that shows our openness, solidarity and humanness," the civil society group said in a statement issued on the occasion of the third anniversary of Croatia's membership in the EU and a visit by the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The first refugees to be resettled from Italy in line with a European migration management plan, will arrive in Croatia today. The refugees, who come from Eritrea and Syria, are the first refugees to arrive in Croatia in line with a refugee quota plan agreed last year.

By the end of 2017, Croatia is to accept a total of 1,617 refugees in line with that plan.

"The first refugees to arrive in Croatia in line with the resettlement plan are coming amidst a political crisis in the country, which has a caretaker government. In such a situation we do not expect the adoption of an action plan for the integration of refugees, an operational plan for resettlement or a protocol on integration because those strategically important documents must be adopted in a process that will include not only consultations with state institutions but also consultations with the public," the civil society group said.

The current political situation in the country, however, must not have any repercussions for the reception of refugees or any other persons to arrive in Croatia in the coming months, the group said, adding that it expected state institutions to act professionally and make a provisional plan until the said documents were adopted.

"Croatia must welcome those people and work systematically on their integration, which is something it has refused to do in the last 10 years, leaving it to volunteers and civil society organisations," the group said, among other things.

Latest news

Serbia's EU negotiator says minority rights neglected

The head of the Serbia's European Union accession negotiation team, Tanja Miscevic, said in Novi Sad on Wednesday that minority rights had been neglected for many years and added that positive results in that regard cannot be achieved over night, the Beta news agency has reported. 

Scientists: Nearby star's 7 rocky planets are "best bet" for life

New analysis of telescope data shows a dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth has at least seven apparently rocky planets with potential to harbour water, an international team of scientists announced Wednesday.

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Wednesday with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Dario Scannapieco for talks on the bank's contribution to a new investment cycle in Croatia and its support to the Croatian government to implement key projects, a press release from the government's office said.

Bomb explodes outside police officer's home in Northern Ireland

A bomb exploded outside a police officer's home in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Denmark to charge man with blasphemy over burning Koran

Danish prosecutors said Wednesday they have opened a rare blasphemy case against a man who videotaped himself burning a copy of the Koran.

South Africa to raise taxes for the wealthiest

South Africa will raise the income tax rate for the country's wealthiest to 45 per cent from 41 per cent, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced Wednesday.

Reformist Macron wins support of key centrist leader for French vote

France's reformist presidential hopeful, Emmanuel Macron, got a boost on Wednesday when he picked up the support of a party leader whose centrist constituency played a pivotal role in the last two presidential elections.

Amnesty International warns of nationalist rhetoric and hate speech in Croatia

Croatia continues to have problems with discrimination against ethnic minorities and with freedom of the media, while heightened nationalist rhetoric and hate speech during election time contributed to growing ethnic intolerance and insecurity in the country, global human rights watchdog Amnesty International said in its annual report on the state of human rights in the world in 2016/2017.

Official assigned to Wilders' security team held by Dutch police

A security official assigned to protect Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders is being held by police on suspicion of passing along classified information about the lawmaker to a Dutch-Moroccan crime gang.

100th anniversary of rescuing starving children marked

A special ceremony was held in Zagreb's Croatian National Theatre on Wednesday to mark the 100th anniversary of one of the greatest humanitarian undertakings in the history of the Croatian people which saved children in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from famine in the last two years of World War I.

Italy's 'Red Thing' could make impact in election debut, polls show

Two polls conducted for RAI public broadcaster released Wednesday showed a new entity that split from Italy's ruling Democratic Party

Council: Nixing grants to "Novosti" would cause far-reaching implications

The Council for National Minorities, a state-level autonomous umbrella organisation for all ethnic minorities in Croatia, has stated that the cancellation of financial grants to the "Novosti", a newspaper of the ethnic Serb minority, would produce far-reaching implications and stir criticism for reduction of free speech and of freedom of expression of the most numerous ethnic minority.