Croatian Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic on Thursday expressed his satisfaction with an agreement reached in Macedonia on Wednesday between the chiefs of police of Austria, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia according to which refugees would as of Monday be identified and profiled on the Greek-Macedonia border.
"A huge step forward has been made with regard to refugees because profiling will be conducted on the Macedonian border," Orepic told reporters after the government meeting.
Profiling will be conducted jointly by combined Slovenian, Croatian and Macedonian police forces, Orepic explained, adding that there were two criteria - refugees from war affected countries will be received as will those who clearly define their final destination.
"We made the proposal and will invest the most effort at first with our technology and personnel," Orepic said, adding that Croatian police would most probably be deployed to the Greek-Macedonian border on Monday already.
In that way we will significantly reduce the refugee problem in Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, hence we are on track for a good solution, said Orepic who did not wish to speculate on the number of refugees likely to arrive in the spring. "We will react to real needs. I do not wish to make any predictions. Croatia is capable of responding to the refugee crisis," he underscored.
Reporters were supplied with draft conclusions from Wednesday's meeting, which amongst else, note that countries will invest efforts to "standardise the registration of migrants and to establish clear common criteria that migrants will have to satisfy in order to be allowed to transit through that route."
According to the agreement, foreign police forces in Macedonia, will be responsible to provide assistance to Macedonian law enforcement forces in protecting the state border and stepping up border surveillance and providing joint unified profiling for the further transit of migrants, clearly specifying conditions and restrictions introduced by countries nominated as final destinations.
Orepic denied allegations that refugees who had been returned from Slovenia were "wandering" around Zagreb, adding that there were currently 41 refugees in Zagreb and that was because they did not specify their final destination and they have one month to depart from Croatia.
They will be sent to the Slavonski Brod centre, Minister Orepic added and denied allegations that costs were being cut for the migrant centre. Costs have been adjusted to real needs, he said.