vesna pusic
Photograph: Vlada.hr

Croatia doesn't wish to seal its border to refugees, but  will have no other option if Slovenia, Austria and Germany decide to do so, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusic said on Tuesday, underscoring that this would be anti-European and an ineffective solution.

"Is it possible to physically seal Croatia's border? Everything is possible but that is not something that we wish, I state clearly, we do not want that. If, however, Germany closes its borders, Austria closes its borders, Slovenia closes its borders, we have nothing else to do, there is no other option," Pusic said, adding that this would be anti-European, ineffective and that it was not the right solution.

"What would we actually gain from it? An enormous number of people would gather in our eastern neighbourhood. I don't see that that would be in anyone's interest," she said.

 She believes that this would be a "counter-productive and senseless" approach that started with Hungary sealing its borders and mutual bickering, outwitting and passing the buck between countries on the path from Turkey to Germany.

"The only way to resolve that problem is a common approach, to come to an agreement, to see how we can help European institutions and Germany which is negotiating directly along with European institutions with the Turkish side to stop the refugee wave," Pusic said.

Pusic said that the Slovenian government's decision enabling the deployment of troops to the border is an idea to reduce the flow of refugees but Slovenia is beginning to realise what it is being faced with and what the problem is.

"It has just been announced that two thousand people have crossed the Slovenian-Austrian border. That is what we are talking about. These people do not wish to stay in Croatia or Slovenia and you can do whatever you want but in the end they will go where they have set their minds to. The problem cannot be resolved on the Slovenian border or on the Croatian border or on the Hungarian border, the problem needs to be resolved on the Greek-Turkish border and it's not possible to solve it there either unless a common agreement is reached between the EU and Turkey," she underscored.

Pusic said that the Croatian police did not cross the border with Serbia on Monday and that the announcement that Serbia was going send a protest note is out of place. "I have information that the Croatian police did not cross the border but I think that at a time like this that is totally out of place when Croatia is taking in all the refugees coming from Serbia and as we all know, it doesn't have to. It could have a different policy. I think that a move of that nature is truly out of place."

Asked whether it was proper of Croatia to allow refugees to disembark in locations that had not been agreed to with Slovenia and whether Croatia had a new plan, Pusic said that the plan was always the same and that was to have refugees travel from Turkey to Germany. "What can we do? Should we stop them so they stay in Serbia and let  Serbia explode? Should Serbia stop them so they all stay in Macedonia and let Macedonia explode?"

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