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.