Croatia demands clear EU policy on migrants
(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (C) holds a child and talks with refugees stuck in the registration and transit camp for refugees near Gevgelia Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on 13 April 2016. The Macedonian Slovenian and Croatian Presidents are on a two days work visit to Macedonia to gather first hand information about the refugee situation at the border to Greece. EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ
Gevgelija Macedonia: Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Wednesday demanded the EU implement a clear policy on migrants as she and two other Balkan heads of state visited a flashpoint area on the Greece-Macedonia border.
"EU should be clear in its policy towards migrants and take care of those who have the right to asylum who are fleeing war" Grabar-Kitarovic said after visiting a reception centre in Gevgelija on Macedonia's southeastern border with Greece.
She was accompanied by her Macedonian and Slovenian counterparts Gjorge Ivanov and Borut Pahor.
"The migrant wave will not stop by itself not until those messages are clear" she said.
Since Sunday there has been a wave of clashes at Idomeni on the Greece-Macedonia border where more than 11000 migrants have been stranded for weeks after Balkans countries closed their frontiers effectively shutting off access to northern Europe.
Over the past three days hundreds of people have tried to force their way across with Macedonian police using tear gas and other riot control means to stop them in scenes of violence which have drawn criticism in Europe and sparked a row with Greece.
The Macedonian president said the unrest was the result of "major pressure by the migrants to obtain (the) re-opening" of the Balkans route and underlined the country's right to protect its border.
As they visited further clashes erupted just a few hundred metres (yards) away with Macedonian police firing tear gas and stun grenades at around a hundred migrants protesting on the Greek side of the fence an AFP correspondent said.
Spread along a 100-metre stretch of the border they tugged at the wire fence until a group of Greek riot police arrived blocking their access to the fence the reporter said.
Sunday saw the worst violence with more than 250 migrants and refugees injured in the melee. Most suffered respiratory problems but around 30 were treated for injuries from plastic bullets according to medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.