Croatia proposes to deploy army to manage refugee flow

Croatian government moves to deploy army to help police manage refugee flow at its border

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees wait to be registered by the authorities before continuing their train journey to western Europe at a refugee transit camp in Slavonski Brod, Croatia, February 10, 2016.

Croatia on Friday proposed amending its defence laws and deploying army to help police manage flows of refugees at borders, as Western Balkan states effectively close their borders to those fleeing conflict or poverty in the Middle East.   

Since last September around 700,000 refugees have passed through Croatia towards western Europe, primarily Germany, but border restrictions imposed by countries along the Balkan route have left at least 30,000 stuck in Greece.

The proposed amendments require the army to follow police instructions and to help protect the country’s borders in exceptional security or humanitarian aid.

Croatian Prime Minister Oreskovic said "It doesn't mean we will activate this tomorrow, but we want to have this option.”

Parliament must approve the legal changes. Neighbouring Slovenia approved a similar move last month after amending existing laws.

Oreskovic had said this week on a visit to Germany that Croatia favoured a European Union-wide solution to the refugee crisis rather than unilateral actions by individual countries.

TRTWorld and agencies