Oreskovic: Cooperation with Serbia in tackling refugee crisis excellent

Croatia cooperates excellently with Serbia in efforts to solve the refugee crisis and is prepared for a scenario of of opening a new route of migration via Bosnia and Herzegovina, although this is not very likely, Croatia's caretaker Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic said in Vienna on Saturday after a summit meeting of leaders of countries along the Balkan migration route.

"Despite tensions that are talked about, we cooperate with Serbia excellently. Cooperation on the ground is excellent," the Croatian premier told the press after the summit organised by Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.

Croatia is ready for each option, Oreskovic said in a comment on a possibility that the route of irregular migrants be shifted through Bosnia and Herzegovina. He, however believes that this is only a speculative possibility.

He reiterated that the summit meeting called for stepping up the control of the European Union's external borders.

"In pursuit of this goal, we have agreed that the capacities of Frontex should be enhanced," Oreskovic said.

Frontex helps border authorities from different EU countries work together. Frontex’s full title is the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union. The agency was set up in 2004 to reinforce and streamline cooperation between national border authorities.

On the fringes of the Vienna summit, Oreskovic met with his Macedonian counterpart Emil Dimitriev.

The summit meeting was attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as leaders from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia's caretaker Prime Minister. In attendance were also European Council President Donald Tusk who called for the closing of the western Balkan route of irregular migration for good, and Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Union Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs.

Speaking after the Vienna summit Merkel said the Europe must "stop illegal immigration while living up to our humanitarian responsibilities".

To this end "it is necessary to get agreements with third countries, especially in Africa but also Pakistan and Afghanistan... so that it becomes clear that those with no right to stay in Europe can go back to their home countries," she told reporters.

European Council President Donald Tusk in Vienna on Saturday called on European countries to do their utmost to close the Balkan route for irregular migration.

Arriving in Vienna for talks with leaders of countries along the Balkan migrant route. Tusk said that it was necessary "to confirm, politically and in practice, that the western Balkan route of irregular migration is closed for good."

Last update: Sat, 24/09/2016 - 19:01

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