Croatia’s Brush With Looming Security Crisis In Europe

Globsec 2015

As the refugees and illegal migrants surge continues in Europe, debate is growing in the European Union about the lack of unified immigration policies and funding for migrant rescue operations. Some EU member states are calling for each state to accept a quota of illegal migrants, share the burden as it were. European foreign and defence ministers agreed in Brussels on May 18 to use naval forces to intercept and disrupt ships used by smugglers/ first phase of a military operation against people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Croatia has already committed one 50-crew ship towards the efforts of saving lives of illegal migrants/refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.

While the world marked the World Refugee Day on Saturday 20 June, two security and terrorism related important gatherings occurred in Bratislava, Slovakia, this weekend, starting Friday 19 June and they are the global security forum GLOBSEC 2015 and summit of Visegrad Four/ Visegrad 4 leaders.
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic attended and was a panelist at the GLOBSEC forum – a platform for high-profile politicians, diplomats, business leaders, academics and think tank experts to share their opinions and perspectives regarding international peace and security. This year the discussed topics at various panels, plenary sessions and presentations included the situation in Ukraine and the crisis stemming from ISIS. Hence, European leaders tackled security challenges ranging from a resurgent Russia to global terrorism.
As to the summit of the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Four – Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, the attendees reached a joint position of rejection against the refugee quotas urged by the European Union as response to floods of illegal immigrants and refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East inundate countries of EU especially Italy, Greece, Hungary… on a daily basis.

Boats filled with illegal migrants and refugees cross the Mediterranean on daily basis from Africa and the Middle East

Boats filled with illegal migrants
and refugees cross the
Mediterranean on daily basis
from Africa and the Middle East

Just by watching daily news coverage it’s evident that the problem has reached catastrophic proportions and to any observing eye the influx resembles an aggressive invasion in which it is almost impossible to check for and isolate or sort out any possible terrorist cells, genuine refugees and illegal migrants.

Robert Fico Photo: SITA-felvetel

Robert Fico
Photo: SITA-felvetel

“We reject the mandatory quotas because we believe that what the European Union proposes is contrary to the principle of voluntariness represented by the European Council”, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said. He added: they specifically focused on the grave extent to which Hungary is affected by the problem of illegal migration, and they agreed that everyone must take this special situation into consideration.
In 1991, the founders of the present-day Visegrad cooperation were aiming for the revival of this north-south corridor. Initially, they focused on clearing out the debris of the Communist dictatorships and consolidating the economies of the members. Later, when all four joined NATO and then the European Union, the scale of activity widened to include cooperation in international and security policies and the operation of the Schengen border control system.

Illegal migrants rounded up by people smugglers in Libya to cross into Europe Photo by AP

Illegal migrants rounded up
by people smugglers in Libya
to cross into Europe
Photo by AP

A system of quotas will not solve the problem of illegal migration into the EU, said the Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic to Croatian press, expressing her stand on the matter ahead of her attendance at the global security forum GLOBSEC 2015 in Bratislava, and that it was essential to act upon the real causes of that problem.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Photo:

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

Quotas are not the solution for the questions relating to refugees,” she said. “They can be a short-term solution but a solution must be all-encompassing…We need to be very careful about the message we are sending with that quota system. If we send the message to illegal migrants that they will eventually be able to remain in Europe, then we will perpetuate the problem and it will become worse and stronger… Within both the EU and UN we need to engage in solving the fundamental problems of why illegal migrants are coming, and that means the solving of the conflict in Iraq and Syria, but also battle against poverty and other reasons because of which people from North Africa and the Middle East are arriving as well as solving the problem of people smugglers.”




Francois Hollande Photo: Getty Images

Francois Hollande
Photo: Getty Images

French President Francois Hollande said on Friday he thought commitments by individual EU member states offered a better way of resettling African and Middle Eastern migrants rather than the imposition of national quotas by Brussels.
We need to address the reasons that have led to and that have caused the migration,” Hollande told a news conference after meeting the leaders of the Visegrad Group.
I do not think (quotas) make any sense for migration. I do not think it is the right method,” he said, commenting on proposals from the executive European Commission on how to deal with the large numbers of migrants arriving in Europe.





David Cameron Photo: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

David Cameron
Photo: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

In the case of terrorism, they say that the rise of ISIL shows the dangers of getting involved so we should turn our backs on the Middle East. In the case of migrants being tricked and trafficked, they say this is something that should be managed rather than solved, so we should carry on allowing them to attempt this perilous crossing. I think these arguments are profoundly wrong. And I am very clear about the principles that need to be applied,” said UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the GLOBSEC 2015 conference.
There are those who criticise the emergence of “closed Europe” vis-à-vis the floods of people illegally approaching and crossing sovereign borders of countries; without a doubt there are those, including the UN Refugee Agency, who will criticise Hungary’s recent announcement to build a 174 kilometre long/ 4 meter high fence along the border with Serbia to stop tens of thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa crossing its borders annually and illegally via Serbia, which is not an EU member state. A question then pops into mind: should that fence be extended down along the border between Croatia and Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina? Desperate refugees and illegal migrants will soon find an alternative route into EU if the Hungarian fence is built. How far does a country go in trying to stop the floods of illegal entries? Croatia is one country with relatively recently experienced desperation with refugees. During early 1990’s Serb aggression and ethnic cleansing had created floods of refugees and displaced people – over one million (in a country of 4.5 million!). Among these were Croatia’s own refugees and refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina; all non-Serb and mainly Croat and Muslim. A life lived in such conditions is indeed a life lived in crisis-mode! This crisis arises from the unknown and the insecure future and no human being is built to endure it for long without major unrest erupting.

Asylum seekers in Croatia joining in marking World Refugee Day 2015 Photo: Screenshot Croatian Red Cross website

Asylum seekers in Croatia
joining in marking World Refugee Day 2015
Photo: Screenshot Croatian Red Cross website


Handling the problem in today’s Europe by allocating quotas to each country is not the way forward as a matter of policy because it does support the impression of accommodating illegal migrants on an ongoing basis. However, the illegal migrants and refugees awaiting refugee status processing must be fed, clothed – roof over their head, placed. That certainly is no easy task with diminishing and crumbling economies and “foreign aid purse”. Are the more affluent societies willing to shed worldly comforts and share with those less fortunate? Or are these floods and intensive movements of illegal migrants from Africa and the Middle East actually causing fears (real and pathological) of threats (if not attacks) to Christianity and Western values, the addressing of which may go beyond human compassion and empathy with the seemingly destitute? Certainly strong leadership is required in the EU on these matters and it’s great to see the Croatian president taking part in that leadership. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Stevie10703 says:

    Not to sound cruel or mean but Croatia is too small a country and has an economic problem of its own that they must refuse these people. Our own people are leaving in droves to seek better economic opportunities for themselves, we can’t afford to take illegals in and have them live off our social programs. The other problem is simple, none of these people assimilate into society and you see it throughout the rest of Europe. If we were smart we’d stand with Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland and say “no,” to allowing these people into Croatia.

    • Judging by what’s occurring, Stevie, unless some order is brought in the size of a country ill mean nothing, people just walk in or sail, may stay while and move on to more ‘desirable’ EU destinations or more usual ones. I agree, Croatia should join the Visegrad group for more reasons than resoluteness in coming up with a manageable illegal migrant problem.

  2. Michael Silovic says:

    Croatia needs to stand firm in not accepting any refugees.Sending them all back to where they came from is the only acceptable solution.This is exactly one of the reasons I did not like us to be part of the EU. We are going to be a dumping ground. I have been saying this for years that if we do not stop this we are going to lose everything we fought for including our heritage and culture in a matter of years and not to mention we can not even take care of our own people.I hope our leaders are strong enough to reject these people against any EU pressure.Integration and assimilation does not work and never has under any circumstances.It makes no sense to take people in when people are leaving the country to find work and those who stay can barely survive.

    • True, Michael, Croatia is in no economic state to cater of influx of illegals but cases for genuine refugees need to be accommodated. I believe so far there have been just under 5,000 asylum applications in Croatia but only 147 granted. It was not long ago that Croatia had its own refugees – the 1990’s war of Serb aggression – and apart from Germany no other country took them as they were ethnically cleansed by Serbs from their homes. They occupied hotels, community halls, schools for years…and then many received refugee status abroad…They did not board on ships and boats and did not turn up at anyone’s door, in any country, without being invited. This what we see today from Africa, Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh… resembles forceful entry, one has not even the chance to check for genuine refugees among the masses…Indeed, something firm must be done while at the same time taking care of refugees somewhere. True, assimilation will not occur and indeed it seems not required any more – unfortunately – not even in mainstream as mainstream is becoming lost.

  3. If you ask me, I would send every single refuge to countries of “COALISHIN OF WILLING” as USA like to say. They have uprooted or killed millions of people in the Middle East in the resent years…………..SHAME ON THEM

    • I would think that the people are not running away from the “coalition of the willing”, rb, but away from their own people or politics in their own countries. But in principle, I understand what you are saying and many a conflict has been started that should not have been…many have died and lost their homes because the “West” meddled, thought it knows better and it needs to carry consequences

  4. There is a simple solution re-refuges….get warmongers out from Africa and middle east and there want be any refuges coming to EU

  5. Michael Silovic says:

    Ina I understand what you are saying and good on Germany for taking in Croats as our history dictates that we have similar values and understanding of history and culture as with many European countries and should support one another such as we do Ukraine. But we have no identity with 3rd world countries or their heritage and culture and this is the problem.Legal immigration is one thing but when you have people who flee their country for whatever reasons and just show up on someones door step I am sorry but the welcome mat is not out. If countries fail as a whole to understand this then we will not solve the problem but are encouraging people to do exactly that. Further to my point I personally do not care about the plight of others if it will risk losing our culture and heritage and create hard ship on our own people. We need to put Croatia First and solve our own problems before we attempt to solve anyone’s problem. As to people fleeing war torn countries I always stated that any able bodied person fleeing to another country should be immediately sent to the military for training and returned to defend their own country. If this was policy you would see the different attitude of those who chose criminal acts of violating sovereign countries and their laws. There is no way in hell I would sit by idly and watch Croatia over run by people from 3rd world countries and watch our heritage and culture go down the drain after what we fought for. As far as I am concerned there is no amount of money the EU can give us to take in this population and I would opt out of the EU in a heart beat if any attempt was made to force it on us.

    • I agree with you Michael and that’s precisely the reason why I respect the current Australian government who have put their foot down and stopped illegal migrants coming in on boats, turning them back etc but still in proper channels receiving those whose refugee status has been confirmed. As I said it all looks to me like an invasion, queue jumping, they are no longer willing to wait patiently in UN refugee camps in their neighbouring countries to be processed and distributed, those who have money pay people smugglers and jump queues, turn on other people’s doorsteps…

  6. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

    • Thank you Jonathan for the reblog. Illegal immigrants who forcefully cross borders, avoid regular immigration processes etc do not need compassion, they need deportation. Genuine refugees on the other hand are losing out because of these thugs and more concentration needs to be invested in reviewing the refugee processing and distribution.

  7. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” … The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island

    • Thank you Hollie, for this reminder, which brings home even more the fact that genuine refugees are losing out on consideration because of masses of illegal immigrants who are not refugees but simply looking for a better life etc among them. If we look at the statistics most crossing borders illegally, not waiting in a refugee camp somewhere to be processed and offered a place in a country, do not turn out to be genuine refugees when processed. We obviously need an overhaul of processes that give priority to refugees and reduce the need to react and support human trafficking with illegal immigrants. 21st century is indeed different in this aspect to the 19th and 20th when industry and jobs were multiplying everywhere and immigrants sought after, these days each country has “refugees” of their own in form of poverty and homelessness and we fail to address that adequately let alone illegal migrants. A total mess

  8. Thank you for visiting ! 🙂

  9. this doesn’t look good at all :/

  10. Croatia is way too racist to accept any influx of refugees. In my opinion, unfortunately they will not even be given the opportunity to assimilate comfortably in comparison to an egalitarian country. I feel sorry for the refugees.

    • If they are all refugees, Adriana – reportedly the 4,800 who have applied for asylum/refugee status in Croatia during past year or so only about 160 were confirmed as genuine refugees, the rest looking for a better life that should actually go through normal channels of immigration as we all do and not abuse the plight of refugees, pay money to people smugglers to get them into a country under pretense of asylum… so I think Croatia has the same share of racist individuals as any country has but it cannot be classified as racist – I look at issue at hand and make such assessments

    • Michael Silovic says:

      Adrianna, racism has nothing to do with it. No one country should have to lose their culture or heritage to illegal immigrants especially the smaller countries who are struggling to support their own people. Every person of country origin should look to the best interest of there own country. Your comments are nothing more then liberal BS propaganda that plays into the notion that people have a right to invade any country that they want at the expense of others. Perhaps you should go invade another country and assimilate into their culture and see how it works out for you or maybe you did already.

  11. Ina, what you said earlier hits the nail on the head – Croats suffered and waited for months or years on end to find asylum elsewhere, but we did not come to any country uninvited. I’m sorry, but Croatia must not accept illegal immigrants. Problem one, it only encourages people smugglers and human trafficking. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been saying this, but unfortunately people get on their self-righteous moral high ground and refuse to listen to reason and it seems the EU is no except to such foolishness. How can the West be so outraged over say, child trafficking, but see no issues with human trafficking in the form of this type of people smuggling? Some of us fought against the odds and waited with baited breath for the legal system to do its job, as we sought life elsewhere. I think it is morally corrupt to keep supporting human trafficking via accepting illegal immigrants. It lessens the chances of real refugees being granted entry; those who may actually have a chance of assimilating into the culture. Second problem, I hate to say this, but I have my reservations about the chances of these people assimilating into Croatian culture. It’s not a popular opinion in today’s world, but I think more and more, we’re seeing there is a divide between the values of people and cultures and some things will simply never mesh well together, only causing oppression & conflict in the end. The Croatian population, and in my opinion, heritage, will stand to lose out. We’ve lost too much already, it would be insane to take a gamble on this. It’s really unfortunate that the West/Europe has completely lost the plot when it comes to multiculturalism and assimilation. It is not evil to ask people to assimilate into their new culture! European migrants from the 50s/60s did it and just look at how much they were able to achieve and contribute to their new home! Last, the only proper, but difficult to achieve long-term solution, is for these people to have security and prosperity in their own countries. In the end, I think this is what most people want, is it not? So why do we keep plugging our ears and shouting racism at anyone who tries to point this out?

    • I do not support illegal migration at all, Kat and I support processing of refugees in manner developed by UN and not when they are trafficked together with illegal economic and other types of migrants, Kat. I think what prime minister Abbott and his government have achieved is a great thing and others can learn.

      • Oh, I definitely agree with you, Ina. It’s just a shame that the developed world appears to have leaders who couldn’t care less about the consequences of illegal immigration. The world is coming to a point where we really can’t afford anymore short-term, unsustainable solutions regarding such political and social issues.

      • Firmer policies to limit movements will come, I am confident in that, Kat – because there is a limit to what can be what is a burned hard to bear – so if rivers of illegal migrants continue there will be calamities, it would be much better if money is spent to “fix” issues in countries that are their home…

  12. The plight of any refugee is heartbreaking that one has to flee their homeland to seek refuge.
    I heard on the news a French lady citizen call our country the UK for not taking in these refugees from Calais..
    Yet she has no idea the deluge our country has had in immigration within the EU..
    The housing situation is appalling, and the knock on effect within the NHS are also the unseen strain and drain on services..

    I Wish there were a better solution so we could help more of these people who are desperate.. And I can not see it getting any better in the near or distant future .. The net numbers for 2014 alone were 318,000 who came to the UK, and they were the counted ones not the ones that slipped in unnoticed!.. the figures can be found here at this Link.

    A well drafted post.. thank you for sharing Ina..
    Hugs Sue

  13. Reblogged this on Ace News Room and commented:
    Added your post here as Ina

  14. zoran nosic says:

    I am a little late in reponding to this posting but had one simple thought (I realize that simplicity rarely, if ever works, in the real world, but one can’t discount Occam’s razor).

    Allow these refugees etc. to go to the country that was their colonial master. For it is these countries that usually laid the foundation of the disfunctional states that they left behind.

    …just a thought.

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