llegal border crossings this year up 140%, police say

This year, the Croatian police have recorded 54,593 illegal border crossings, as many as 140 per cent more than last year, the head of the Interior Ministry’sВ Border Control Directorate, Zoran Niceno, said in an interview with Croatian Radio on Thursday morning.В

“This is due to the fact that the number of people using the Western Balkans routes is increasing. If this number doubles, then half of them come to us and the other half to Hungary,” Niceno said.

“They all applied for asylum. This shows that both smugglers and migrants know the EU system well. They know that if they are fingerprinted there is little chance that they will be turned back and they know that they will have freedom of movement while in Croatia,” he added.

Niceno said that Croatia has about 6,500 border police and can deploy another 2,000 if necessary based on risk assessment.

Speaking of the border with Slovenia, he said that police checks have to continue despite Croatia’s entry into the EU’s Schengen passport-free travel area. “Together with our Slovenian colleagues, we analyzed where people cross the border illegally the most and how. We undertook 445 joint patrols,” he said.