miro kovač.jpg

European Union member states should find a European solution to the migrant crisis and turn the good intentions into a common policy, Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said in Brussels on Tuesday.

He said the Visegrad Group countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were open for dialogue and that Germany and the Netherlands were doing what they could on that front.

It is important to reach a European solution, to act globally in Syria, to help there and send the message that not everyone can be received in the EU, that our capacities are limited, Kovac said after a preparatory meeting for an EU summit this week, to focus on the migrant crisis and an agreement with Great Britain.

"We will continue to show humanity but at the same time we must strengthen our capacities on the external borders. We must show that we can control our borders. We must achieve a common European policy on that. Now we have only national policies and an attempt to create a common European policy."

The migrant crisis is a big test for the EU, its credibility and efficiency, Kovac said.

"At the meeting, I underlined the coordination we in Croatia have achieved with our colleagues in Slovenia, Austria, Serbia and Macedonia. I said that it's very important that we strengthen monitoring of the Greek-Turkish border and at the same time on the border between Macedonia and Greece. I told our colleagues that we have deployed police officers to Macedonia and that Croatia is doing everything it can so that we achieve a common European solution. We, as not such a big country, are doing everything in our power, but the biggest countries, by the logic of things, have the biggest responsibility."

Regarding the British exit from the EU, Kovac said the prevalent position is to keep Great Britain in the EU and that Croatia welcomed European Council President Donald Tusk's proposal for Great Britain, that newly-arrived non-British workers' access to social benefits in the first four years of their stay in Great Britain should be restricted in case of big pressure on the British social system.

"Regarding Croatian workers' access to the British market, we asked our British colleagues not to extend (the ban), but this is now a matter of bilateral negotiations," Kovac said.

He said the EU, faced with the migrant crisis and Brexit, now needed a success story so as to send its citizens a positive signal, and that the solution to Brexit could be just that.

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