Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said on Thursday that Slovenia was putting up a fence along its border with Croatia "apparently for domestic political reasons", while his Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar said that Slovenia feared that Croatia might again re-route the flow of refugees away from official border crossings.

The two prime ministers were speaking to the press in Valletta, Malta, where they were attending an EU summit on the refugee crisis. They met briefly on arrival.

"We spoke on the phone yesterday and the day before yesterday. He announced that. I am not going into why he is doing that. I guess it's for domestic political reasons. I mean, fencing off a couple of kilometres around the border crossing means nothing. We have just talked about everything we can do, and what we can do is avoid any friction because there's no reason for it. And friction often occurs because of misunderstandings, omissions in communication, and in this case there's nothing serious," Milanovic told the press.

Cerar said that he had told Milanovic to continue sending migrants to the agreed points of entry to Slovenia. "I felt that Croatia might again re-route the refugee wave to other points, which to me seems senseless and unnecessary. I wish to stress that the purpose of those barriers is to direct the flow to where we can receive them normally, register them and later take care of them."

Cerar said that the Slovenian authorities had carefully considered where to put up the wire fence so as not to prejudge the course of the border line in the arbitration between the two countries. "I assured him that we are putting up the fence only on our side of the border. As I have told him several times in the previous days, with this we don't want to prejudge the outcome of the border problem or the issues that are being dealt with by the arbitration tribunal and that's why we are not putting up obstacles there (on Croatian territory)."

Cerar said that Slovenia was also putting up obstacles to be able to respond quickly if Austria and Germany narrowed the passage for refugees or shut it completely.

"If Austria narrows the passage across the border, so many migrants may appear in Slovenia in a short time that we will not be able to take care of them properly in this cold weather. We do not have enough heated facilities, even though we are increasing our capacity. That's why it's important that we only receive as many as we can take care of properly. Of course, it is also important that all the countries on the Balkan route slow this influx in accordance with the Brussels agreement. With this, Slovenia is also helping to slow this influx. We expect Croatia and each country to the east and south to do the same," Cerar said.

Speaking of the informal summit, Milanovic said that no decisions should be expected. "No formal decisions will be taken. This is a burning issue and there's no end in sight. We have got used to the routine of 5,000-6,000 people coming to Croatia daily. In the end it will all depend on Germany and Turkey," he concluded.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.