Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic on Friday said that Croatia had not yet reacted to Slovenia's provocation of putting up a barbed wire fence on Croatian territory as it expected Slovenia to remove the fence of its own accord.
"We haven't reacted to that provocation so far. We expect the Slovenian side to remove the wire fence of its own accord," Ostojic said in Slavonski Brod, commenting on the razor-wire fence Slovenian police had put up on Croatian territory.
He recalled that the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry and the Environment and Nature Protection Ministry had sent a petition to European Commission Vice President Frans Timmerman, warning that the wire along the entire Croatian-Slovenian border represents an unbridgeable barrier in the migration of wild animals. The Croatian ministries warned of the violation of the Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Ostojic believes that suspicions expressed by Slovenia's Prime Minister Miro Cerar that Croatia intended to direct refugees across Istria to Italy are unfounded and called on Cerar to publicly disclose the source of such information. Ostojic accused Slovenian authorities of acting in contradiction of Juncker's plan which Croatia, he underscored, was strictly following. He said that since the refugee crisis started, there been no uncontrolled entry of refugees into Slovenia from Croatia.
Since the start of the refugee crisis in mid-September, 516,692 people have transited through Croatia and 201,842 have passed through the winter transit centre in Slavonski Brod since it was set up on 3 November.
In response to a question from Hina, Ostojic said that Croatia was willing to continue to participate in Frontex (the joint EU police force) activities in Greece. Frontex said on Thursday that an agreement had been reached with Greece for 376 police officers and interpreters to be available as part of the Poseidon Mission.
Ostojic could not confirm how many Croatian police or vessels would be included in the mission. Currently there are six Croatian police officers assisting Greece, he said.