miro kovač.jpg
Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR/ ds

Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac has explained reasons for Croatia's policy aimed at rationing the number of migrants along the Balkan route, insisting that this is also helpful for Germany, while German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has criticised unilateral moves of closing of border in statements for German media.

"Croatia's coordination with Austria, Slovenia, Serbia and Macedonia is functioning very well and is an important factor in reducing the number of refugees and migrants," Kovac said in a statement that  "Muenchener Tageszeitung" carries in its issue for Monday.

The Croatian minister said that the closing of the frontier between Macedonia and Greece, with Croatian police officers being engaged in that activity, was also good for the European Union, notably for Germany.

Vice Chancellor Gabriel of the SPD, who serves as the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, has told the Bild newspaper that some in Germany are clandestinely happy to see that the countries along the Balkan route are reducing the influx of refugees by shutting their border, and thus do the dirty job for Germany.

"Some in Germany secretly delight in the fact that the Balkan countries are curbing the influx with border closings and, in a way, doing the dirty work for Germany," Gabriel said in his statement for the Bild newspaper, according to the dpa news agency.

"In the long run, that doesn't help," Gabriel added. "The refugees are seeking other paths for themselves. In the end, the Mediterranean will again become a mass gravesite."

Therefore he found this behaviour cynical.

However, Gabriel warned that Germany could no longer repeat "last summer's open-door policy, saying Germany will not simply take in refugees who are now stuck at border crossings around Europe."

Last year, Germany absorbed 1.1 million refugees.

"Germany cannot repeat this gesture, because as it turned out, we remained mostly the only ones in Europe to make it," Vice Chancellor Gabriel said in comments released in advance of Monday's edition of the German Bild newspaper, according to the dpa.

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