Photograph: HINA/ Ivo LUČIĆ/ ds

Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said in Amsterdam on Friday that for Croatia the priority was not to become a refugee collection centre but remain a transit country, and that if host countries such as Germany and Austria closed their borders to refugees, Croatia would too.

Kovac was attending an informal meeting of European Union foreign ministers at which one of the main topics was the migration crisis.

"The priority for us is not to become a refugee collection centre but remain a transit country and to efficiently handle this transit. Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic already discussed cooperation with the neighbouring countries in the refugee crisis. We agreed with Slovenia, Austria, Serbia and Macedonia to jointly screen (refugees) on the border between Macedonia and Greece, thus contributing to a European solution to the refugee crisis," Kovac told reporters.

"Clearly, everything depends on the countries that accept the refugees, primarily Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden. As long as they continue to accept refugees, Croatia will remain a transit country, but if they reduce the number of refugees they receive, that will lead to tighter border control. Borders may even be closed. In that case, we'll have a domino effect. If Slovenia closes its borders, Croatia will too, followed by Serbia and Macedonia. This is functioning for now and we in Croatia want things to be civilised... but we will clearly protect our territory."

Asked how the mending of relations with the neighbours was going, Kovac said some relations were being mended and some strengthened. "My first visit was to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with which we want to strengthen our relations. I want to support its EU membership candidacy. We want the Croats in BiH, as a constituent people, to be satisfied together with the other nations, to be the engine of the EU integration process."

After BiH, Kovac visited Hungary, where he talked with Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. "We agreed that we would communicate in a civilised, constructive manner, that there are many problems which we must solve together and that these problems would be solved gradually in the spirit of good neighbourly and friendly relations."

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic was also attending the Amsterdam meeting, and Kovac said they would talk. "We want good relations with all our neighbours, better than those we encountered when we won citizens' confidence and assumed responsibility for Croatia. It won't be easy, it won't happen overnight, but we have the good will and want our people in Croatia to be satisfied, to be able to live better and have better relations with the neighbours."

Kovac said he also talked with Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and that they agreed to arrange a meeting soon.

Related stories

FM: Croatia to closely cooperate with neighbours

New FM says will mend relations with neighbours

Outgoing interior minister talks migration restrictions

HDZ: Croatia will close its borders to refugees if necessary

Latest news

Merkel calls for fewer EU regulations as nationalist sentiments grow

As voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany show increasing support for nationalist, euro-sceptic political movements ahead of this year's elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for limits on EU regulations.

French prosecutors transfer Fillon case to investigative judge

The French judiciary has opened a formal investigation in connection with presidential candidate Francois Fillon to examine whether the employment of his wife as a parliamentary employee was a sham, the country's financial prosecutors' office said Friday.

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

Major news organizations, which were Friday blocked by the White House from attending an informal press briefing, condemned the move just hours after President Donald Trump described parts of the media as "the enemy of the people."

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.