Croatia has spent HRK 70 million on the refugee crisis so far, Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said in Slavonski Brod on Tuesday after a meeting of the State Protection and Rescue Centre.
He said the first refugees would arrive at the winter transit centre in Slavonski Brod by train from Sid, Serbia on November 2. He said that according to the European Union's Action Plan, the first train with refugees from Croatia arrived in Dobova, Slovenia at 4 pm today, and that refugees would no longer cross the Croatian-Slovenian border elsewhere.
Ostojic said Croatia had responded to Slovenia's call and provided 50 police officers to regulate the migrant flow in Slovenia. "We also offered tents, which are necessary for registration." He said the tents were donated by Qatar and that he understood Slovenia's problems in organising the reception and transport of refugees.
Asked by the press if this meant that communication with Slovenia had improved, he said, "Frankly, we behaved in the same way towards Serbia. It's logical behaviour. You are brought into a situation where you have 10,000 people arriving and you are trying to protect the interests of your state any way you can."
Ostojic said the main goal was that reception and registration centres in Greece to started working.
He said Croatia was using budgetary reserve funds for the refugee costs for now. "Five million euros in urgent aid has been approved so far and we also have EUR 75 million from the migrant crisis fund at our disposal."
The refugee transit centre in Slavonski Brod will have a capacity of 10,000.
As for the EU Action Plan, Ostojic said the registration of refugees would be stepped up because Croatian police officers would take part in it in Sid. He said registration would be done in every country through which refugees passed so that Frontex (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States) could trace their movement. "This Frontex registration will be the ticket for the train in Sid." Ostojic said he did not expect the flow of refugees to decrease, given the number entering Greece.
A member of the press asked him to comment on the fear of some Slavonski Brod residents that the opening of the refugee camp would impact safety. "No one has seen anyone on a street, no crime has taken place, no apple has been stolen. The safety of citizens in Croatia and Slavonski Brod is ensured," he said, adding that the refugee camp in Opatovac would be closed as soon as the one in Slavonski Brod became operational.