miro cerara tihomir oreskovic.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Nebojša TEJIĆ / STA / mm

Cooperation with Croatia in the refugee-migrant crisis was very problematic when it began last year but has markedly improved with Croatia's new government, Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said on Saturday, adding that his recent meeting with Croatian PM Tihomir Oreskovic had contributed to that.

"We both expressed a desire to start dealing with outstanding issues too in the future, that we should find as many common ground for good cooperation as possible," Cerar told STA news agency, adding that he saw the fact that Oreskovic chose Slovenia as his first trip abroad as a positive beginning of the new cooperation.

Speaking of the migrant crisis, Cerar said he still believed a common solution to the supervision of the European Union's external borders was possible to prevent illegal migration and so that Europe could take in those refugees who indeed deserved international protection.

The point of Slovenia's initiative to help Macedonia with police and equipment in the control of its border with Greece is to protect the western Balkan from possible destabilisation in case of a mass migrant flow which would cause bilateral tensions, as well as to "reduce the flow of illegal migrants into Slovenia and Austria," Cerar said.

If that succeeds, Slovenia will be able to more efficiently control its border with Croatia, which is also the Schengen Area border, while stepping up control of Slovenian-Austrian border will not be necessary, Cerar said.

In the weeks ahead, Slovenia will step up the control of migration on its border with Croatia as soon as Austria does the same on its border with Slovenia, he said. Austria has announced daily quotas for the reception of refugees and migrants.

Cerar added that Croatia's idea of bringing trains with migrants from the Croatian-Serbian border to the Slovenian-Austrian border crossing Sentilj was unacceptable for his government.

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