Budapest, October 8 (MTI) – The Croatian president said she came as a friend to Hungary, a neighbouring country that is her country’s friend.
The exchange of rhetoric on the migration issue has put relations between the countries to a stress to a certain degree, but this is only a “temporary” situation, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic told public news channel M1 in an exclusive interview late on Wednesday.
The president said that the tide of migrants had met Croatia unprepared even if it could be foreseen several months before.
“It must be admitted that Croatia’s system for handling migrants collapsed within a few hours,” she said.
“We have wasted several months. We should have coordinated preparations with the neighbouring countries, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria, and others, as well as with Brussels,” Grabar-Kitarovic said.
Croatia wants to help all these people, she said, adding however that a distinction should be made between migrants and refugees.
The Croatian president noted she had given warning earlier that the migration issue has not only a humanitarian, but an economic and social aspect as well.
Croatia is not opposed to migration and would not want to ban migrants from entering the EU, but it wants control over events, she said, calling registration and fingerprinting imperative.
Grabar-Kitarovic said Europe should expect a lasting migration wave which will require a long-term migration policy.
She urged tackling the migration problem at its roots, in cooperation with Turkey and Lebanon, adding that protecting Europe’s borders was also a must.