zoranMilanovic.jpg
Photograph: vlada.gov.hr

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that there would be no armed conflicts in the Balkans if Germany closed its borders to refugees and migrants, adding that Croatia could close its border "much faster" than Germany.

Asked by the press to comment on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's expressing concern that Germany's possible closure of its border to refugees could spark new armed conflicts in the Balkans, Milanovic said that Merkel was very cautious with her statements, always had "two, three lines of defence" and that he understood her behaviour.

"However, Germany cannot close its border. Croatia will always do it much faster than Germany. (There will be) no armed conflicts whatsoever," he told reporters before touring a section of the Jakusevec-Velika Gorica road which connects to the highway A11 Zagreb-Sisak.

Milanovic also said that he no longer informed the public about his conversations with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar because they had become a routine.

"I think that this situation (refugee crisis) should not become a routine. It should stop. (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan has won (Sunday's election) and he will now probably be more willing to negotiate and compromise... This is a geopolitical game whose victims are those poor people," said Milanovic.

As for the refugee crisis, Croatia has proven to be a very organised state, he said. "I am satisfied with the way we have been handling it, the way my associates, the Croatian police, have been doing it."

Addressing a meeting of her CDU party in Darmstadt on Monday evening, Merkel expressed fear that closure of the German borders to refugees might trigger off new armed conflicts in the Balkans.

Merkel said that the closure of the borders by Hungary and the rerouting of refugees via Croatia and Slovenia had shown that it takes little to cause tension and conflict.

I don't want to be pessimistic, but this goes faster than we think. A quarrel leads to a conflict and that can lead to something that no one wants, Merkel said, explaining her policy of openness to refugees and why she thought it would be wrong for Germany to close its borders, as demanded by some sections of her party. 

Latest news

Plane crashes at airport in Melbourne

A five-passenger charter plane has crashed into a building next to Essendon Airport in Melbourne, with witnesses reporting explosions, fire and black smoke, police said Tuesday.

Air France pilots give green light to lower cost subsidiary

Members of Air France's main pilots union on Monday voted to accept the creation of a new lower cost subsidiary that the flag carrier hopes will help it compete on long-haul routes.

US Army General McMaster tapped as Trump's national security advisor

Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster will be the new White House national security advisor, US President Donald Trump told reporters Monday.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

President wants to recall "politically appointed ambassadors", can't do it without gov't

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that many politically appointed Croatian ambassadors were not carrying out state policies but that she could not replace them without the government to appoint career diplomats who would fight for Croatia's interests.

Izetbegovic hopes ICJ will confirm Serbia's responsibility for genocide

The Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday rejected criticism stirred up by the announcement that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement made after Bosnia sued Serbia for genocide.

British lawmakers locked in heated debate over Trump's state visit

Allowing US President Donald Trump to visit Britain would be akin to "pimping out the Queen," one British lawmaker said Monday during a heated debate in British parliament over two petitions concerning the US leader's future state visit.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's sharp-tongued ambassador to the UN, dies

Russia's long-time ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York on Monday, following a career that spanned four decades and saw Russia emerge from the Soviet Union and experience many turbulent events in its relations with the West.

French police raid National Front over European Parliament payments

France's far-right National Front Monday said that investigators had searched its offices in relation to allegations that it misused European Parliament funds.

Unhappy Presidents' Day: Trump still manoeuvring after Sweden comment

Donald Trump used his first Presidents' Day in office to continue trying to talk his way out of comments implying a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.

Croatia supports Kosovo's territorial integrity - Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed the support to Kosovo's territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations during her talks with the visiting Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Petrov rules out early parliamentary election

Parliament Speaker and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov on Monday dismissed speculation about a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority, saying an early election was likelier, but that right now he did not see "such a scenario."