ranko ostojic migranti slavonski brod.jpg
Photograph: HINA / mm

Minister of the Interior Ranko Ostojic said in a transit centre for refugees in Slavonski Brod on Sunday that the centre had the capacity to take in an increased number of refugees expected to arrive during the day, recalling that the centre had the capacity for 5,000 arriving and 5,000 departing refugees.

There are currently up to 2,000 people at the winter transit centre in Slavonski Brod.

Commenting on the possible arrival of a larger number of refugees from Greece, Ostojic said that Croatia had already experienced one such wave on October 10, when 36,000 refugees disembarked in Greece in one day. "I won't say that there weren't any problems but they all received assistance and were sent further on. The winter transit centre at Slavonski Brod has a much bigger capacity than the one at Opatovac," the minister said.

He went on to say that agreement had been reached with Serbia to keep sending refugees by train every three hours in groups of 1,000.

Commenting on Slovenia's refusal of Croatia's offer of assistance, he said: "We responded to a call to EU countries by the Slovenian minister of the interior who asked for assistance in police staff. I am confident that with their professionalism and humanness Croatian police have shown that they can do this job well. We offered 50 police officers immediately... I received a letter declining the offer and I would not speculate about the reasons. (Police assistance) would have been very useful."

As for assistance in the form of tents for the accommodation of refugees, Ostojic said that Croatia had offered tents it had received as aid. "We received 300 quality tents from Qatar that are easy to fold... we have not received any response (from Slovenia) and the offer is still on the table," said the minister.

Ostojic was also asked to comment on costs related to the refugee crisis. Croatia has been given aid in the amount of EUR 16.4 million and so far it has spent around HRK 100 million.

"The 5 million euros promised by Commissioner Avramopoulos has been increased, following our statement of costs. The crisis has been going on for 54 days. We have been keeping records of our costs very transparently and we never asked for more than we had spent," he said, citing costs related to the accommodation of refugees, police overtime work, army engagement, and the cost of medical services.

"Several million kuna was spent on hygiene... More than 334,000 people have passed through the country and we did not have a single case of serious disease or epidemic," said Ostojic.

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