President talks Croatia's experience in refugee crisis

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic attended a working breakfast in Munich on Saturday for the women participants in a security conference, her office said in a press release, adding that the breakfast focused on lessons learned through Croatia's experience in the European refugee crisis.

As the keynote speaker, Grabar-Kitarovic said that Europe was caught off guard, without a clear policy or coordinated approach, which resulted in Croatia's neighbours putting up wire fences along their borders with Croatia in an attempt to protect their borders.

Despite the humanism and openness shown initially, the limits in managing the migrant crisis soon became evident, she said, adding that in the context of global threats, climate change and economic circumstances, new migrant flow pressures could be expected in the years ahead.

Europe needs a common policy based on the European values of solidarity and inclusion and wider than the quota policy, the president said.

She said it was necessary to better control the European Union's external borders and that one must not allow this crisis to undermine the Schengen Area nor the values and freedoms won, notably freedom of movement.

Speaking of the role of women and children in migration and refugee policies, Grabar-Kitarovic said young men constituted a majority of the people who crossed the borders and expressed concern that women and children were left behind in war-torn areas. She said one must show solidarity and humanity in helping the people who fled conflict zones, and that one must not forget those most vulnerable left behind in Syria under bullets, hungry and ill.

It is necessary to focus on the root causes of migrant crises through diplomacy, development aid and defence from terrorism, and to work together to find a long term political solution for Syria and enable the Syrian people to return to their homes, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

In the afternoon, she is expected to meet with several presidents of the states within the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea initiative and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. Tonight, she will take part in a discussion as part of a Euro-Atlantic integration conference, which will bring together Presidents Borut Pahor of Slovenia and Gjorge Ivanov of Macedonia and Prime Ministers Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro and Giorgi Kvirikashvili of Georgia.

Last update: Sat, 13/02/2016 - 18:00

More from Croatia

PM says hasn't heard of any better model for INA buyout than HEP IPO

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic repeated in the parliament on Tuesday that the government planned to buy back...

Number of visiting cruise ships in 11 months of 2016 higher than in 2015

In the first 11 months of 2016, 813 cruise ships visited Croatian ports, 45 more than in 2015, and aboard those...

Task force to be formed to draw up law on financing of local self-government units

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric has said that next week he will propose appointing a task force to draw up a new law...

Hungarian icebreakers arriving on Danube in Croatia

Two Hungarian icebreakers are arriving on the Danube in Croatia this afternoon because of low air temperatures which...

Veterans, Tudjman, Racan deserve credit for Croatia's int'l recognition, SDP official says

The City of Rijeka and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County on Monday organised a commemoration in the northern Adriatic...