Zagreb and Ljubljana should better cooperate in tackling the refugee crisis because the lack of an effective European response and policy changes in some of the destination countries could cause an escalation of bilateral tensions and destabilise the Western Balkans, Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and his Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar said in Ljubljana on Friday.
It was the first meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries after Oreskovic took office last Friday.
In an informal and open exchange of views, the two prime ministers underlined the importance of good cooperation between the two neighbouring countries. They discussed ways of strengthening bilateral relations in several areas and further advancing economic cooperation, the Croatian prime minister's press office said in a statement.
One of the main topics discussed was the migration crisis, an important issue in Europe at this time.
The prime ministers are agreed that the two countries should improve cooperation in tackling the refugee crisis. They shared concern about the lack of an effective common European response to the crisis and about the fact that the latest policy changes in some of the destination countries could result in an escalation of bilateral tensions and consequently destabilise the Western Balkans, according to the statement.
In that regard, Prime Minister Oreskovic supported Prime Minister Cerar's initiative, announced in a letter to his colleagues last week, to urgently halt the influx of migrants along the Western Balkan route by helping Greece in dealing with this problem and by helping Macedonia to step up controls on its southern border.
The two prime ministers agreed on close cooperation in implementing the initiative on the ground, as well as in light of a European Council meeting due in February.