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Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Migrants: an investigation denounces illegal and violent refoulements at the EU’s borders

The report is the result of a collaboration between German public television ARD, the French daily Libération, Croatian and Serbian media and the Dutch investigative platform Ligthouse reports. The video recordings of eleven refoulements in Croatia show migrants being beaten and violently turned back to Bosnia and Herzegovina by men wearing balaclavas and uniforms without insignia.

Reporters concluded that these were special police units concealing their identities.

“In the wake of the revelations, Croatia announced on Thursday an investigation “a team of experts is now on the ground to establish what happened, who participated (in these events) and where did they take place” said the Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic.

Brussels reaction

European Commissioner Ylva Johansson said she was concerned by the journalistic documents showing violent “pushbacks” in Croatia and Greece in particular.

These alleged refoulements “really tarnish our reputation as the European Union,” said the Swedish official, who is due to meet with the Greek and Croatian interior ministers in the evening.

Ylva Johansson also worried about a possible “misuse of European funds” allocated to these member states, recalling that the EU can suspend payments in case of violations of the rule of law.

“There seems to be some kind of orchestration of violence at our external borders, and there seems to be credible evidence of misuse of EU funds,” she continued, saying it was the Commission’s job to monitor the proper use of those funds.

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