Four Italy's members of European Parliament, who arrived in Croatia on Saturday to inspect the situation with migrants on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and alleged pushback of migrants, were prevented by the police from reaching the border, according to Croatian media.
Citing the Italian media outlet Avvenire, the news portal Index.hr reported that the situation was very tense at the Croatia-Bosnia border and that the Croatian police were chasing the MEPs in attempt to prevent them from reaching the checkpoint, where migrants are mostly barred from entering Croatia.
According to the same media outlet, some 20 police officers and police vans blocked the road for the EU officials, Brando Benifei, Alessandra Moretti, Pietro Bartolo and Pierfrancesco Majorino, Italy's representatives in the European Parliament.
“After long and meaningless talks, the delegation and three reporters crossed behind the police tape in an attempt to reach the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, which was less than 300 metres away. Police were then ordered to catch up with the group and prevent them from reaching the checkpoint in the forest,” the Croatian web news portal quoted the Italian daily's report.
The MEPs themselves were actively tweeting about what was going on.
Volevamo semplicemente vedere e ascoltare, andare al confine in suolo europeo. Ce l'hanno impedito con un cordone di polizia armata fino ai denti.
Ciò che è passato ieri è che il nostro dovere ispettivo possa destabilizzare qualcosa o qualcuno.
Non ci fermeremo. #RottaBalcanica pic.twitter.com/8HKEUADBu7
— Brando Benifei (@brandobenifei) January 31, 2021
Mai mi sarei aspettata che un Paese europeo come la Croazia arrivasse ad un atto così grave verso 4 parlamentari europei: impedire loro di svolgere il proprio ruolo. @pdnetwork @eurodeputatipd pic.twitter.com/yuwTmQnmpv
— Alessandra Moretti (@ale_moretti) January 30, 2021
La polizia croata ha cercato di bloccarci. Dovranno spiegare nelle sedi opportune cosa hanno da nascondere al loro confine. Ora stiamo andando a Bihać per vedere i campi i migranti in Bosnia. Sappiamo già di trovare grandi sofferenze… #rottabalcanica #RestiamoUmani pic.twitter.com/EX8yeO1ARX
— Pietro Bartolo (@bartolopietro1) January 31, 2021
— Pierfrancesco Majorino (@pfmajorino) January 30, 2021
According to Index.hr, MEP Benefei had a fierce discussion on a phone call with Croatian ambassador.
“If we planned to commit a crime then you are supposed to write an official complaint and explain what have we exactly done,” the MEP allegedly asked the ambassador.