European Western Balkans
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Croatian police ‘blocks’ MEPs investigating treatment of refugees

ROME – Four Italian politicians have accused Croatian police of trying to prevent them from accessing an area on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, amid concern over the treatment of refugees in the region, Al Jazeera reports. MEPs Piero Bartolo, Brando Benifei, Pierfrancesco Majorino, and Alessandra Moretti said they were stopped on the Croatian-Bosnian border near Bojna by the Croatian police on Saturday. According to Avvenire, a newspaper from Italy, MEPs were prevented from reaching the border after “dozens” of Croatian police set-up a “human barrier” on the road leading to the checkpoint. Benifei said in a video recorded at the scene that “the Croatian police were waiting for us and set up a barrier”. European Parliament President David Sassoli said he was “astonished” by the treatment of the MEPs. “We always hope for friendly cooperation. We call for their requests to be met,” wrote Sassoli on his Twitter account. Nevertheless, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović condemned the visit by a group of Italian MEPs and characterized it as an attempt by MEPs to damage Croatia’s international reputation. “No one was permitted to cross between Croatia and Bosnia at any location other than official border points”, said Božinović.

Read more: EC warns BiH its failure to manage migrant crisis could hurt its EU aspirations

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