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News 31 Aug 15

Croatian PM Pledges Help for Refugees

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said his country is ready to help refugees coming to Europe, insisting that people fleeing conflict should given the right to remain in the EU.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Zoran Milanovic (centre) with the crew of the Andrije Mohorovicic. | Photo by Croatian government

During a visit to a Croatian coastguard ship in the Italian port of Catania on Sunday, Milanovic said that Croatia is ready to help refugees coming to the EU, describing them as “people in pursuit of a better life”.

“I think these people should be given the opportunity to work, to create, to pay taxes, to contribute, since for sure they won’t and shouldn’t go back,” he said.

Earlier this month, Croatia sent one of its two coastguard ships, the Andrija Mohorovicic, to participate in the EU-led humanitarian mission named Triton, which aims to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.

“When we were passing the decision [to send the ship], we were guided, above all, by the fact that thousands of people risk their lives out of desperation, not because they want to take a piece of bread from someone,” Milanovic said as he visited the Andrija Mohorovicic accompanied by defence minister Ante Kotromanovic and Croatian Army chief of staff Drago Lovric.

“[They came] because they were persecuted and poor, and because they want the right to a better life. It is up to us to help them as much as we can,” the Croatian premier added.

Over the last month, the crew of the ship has saved 1,388 refugees in the course of eight search and rescue missions. The ship will participate in the EU mission until late October.

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