Minister says only rest stops in Croatia not hotspots

Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said in Opatovac on Monday that the agreement reached at a meeting of heads of state and governments in Brussels on Sunday did not foresee setting up hotspots in Croatia, but rest areas at which migrants would stay briefly and from where they would be transported towards Slovenia.

"Croatia has been asking from the beginning that the migrant problem be dealt with at its source -- in Greece. Greece must finally become a country which will not only have hotspots but where the complete registration of refugees would be conducted as well," Ostojic said adding that those who do not deserve international help would be returned to the country they came from.

According to him, the meaning of the Brussels agreement is avoiding unilateral actions by some countries and the condition for the agreement to be put into force is the functioning of hotspots in Greece. Ostojic said the most important thing for Croatia is "to keep the transit going", adding that "Croatia never had any problem in making agreements."

"We have a problem with attempts to make a hotspot in Croatia," the minister said adding that Croatia was fine with the agreement from Brussels also because of the fact that there is no mention of hotspots in countries on the western Balkan route, but only of rest stops. Rest areas would be a place where refugees would stay briefly before they are transported further," Ostojic said. He added that opening rest stations would slow down the refugee influx and it would give Greece room to get rid of hotspots and Germany to stabilise the reception of refugees coming from areas without international protection.

"This is a temporary measure that could yield results," Ostojic said, adding that contact-points would be set up in countries on the western Balkan route at which information on migrant movements would be exchanged. These points should be launched at 1500 hours Thursday by a video conference call. The minister said the agreement also refers to the arrival of Frontex in Sid which should supervises the reception and transport of refugees from that town towards Croatia.

A total of 5,873 migrants entered Croatia by 1500 hours Monday, bringing the number of migrants who entered Croatia since mid-September to 259,049, the Ministry of the Interior reported.

Currently, 2,780 migrants are staying at the reception centre in Opatovac and more migrants are expected to arrive from Serbia.

Last update: Mon, 26/10/2015 - 20:33

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