Croatia is ready to offer Bulgaria its professional and technical support for joining Schengen, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday after a meeting between Minister Davor Bozinovic and Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Raskov.
In a conversation with Raskov, Bozinovic exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine and the engagement in providing temporary protection to Ukrainian refugees, the migration situation in the eastern Mediterranean.
The meeting was also dedicated to the new Pact on Migration and Asylum and the strategy for a stronger and more resilient Schengen area.
The ministers confirmed that the trend of increased migratory pressure on the external border is increasing with the spring months and that neither Croatia nor Bulgaria are countries of final destination for illegal migrants. They agreed that the intensity of the pressure is linked to political and security circumstances, as well as the way migration is managed in neighbouring countries.
They also pointed out the importance of a comprehensive and unified response of EU member states to the crisis in Ukraine. Since the beginning of the Russian aggression on Ukraine, Croatia has accepted over 17,000 refugees and Bulgaria about 100,000 refugees, mostly women and children.
Both countries have provided the necessary assistance and care to all persons granted temporary protection, including health care, social assistance and the inclusion of children in the education system and adults in the labour market.
The ministers also signed a bilateral agreement between Croatia and Bulgaria on cooperation in the event of disasters, which, as pointed out, gave impetus to further strengthen mutual cooperation in the field of civil protection and risk management of natural and man-made disasters.