Is Croatia's fear of refugees exaggerated?

Hundreds of refugees are stuck at the EU border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Police are preventing them from entering the EU. A debate has broken out in Croatia about how to deal with refugees, with one local politician calling for the use of barbed wire and machine guns. For commentators from Croatia the reaction is out of all proportion to the threat.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

Violence seems to be the easiest solution

Journalist Boris Vlašić is outraged in Jutarnji list by local politician Martin Pauk's proposal to stop migrants crossing the border using barbed wire and machine guns:

“A machine gun can shoot between 100 and 600 rounds a minute, depending on the model and what mood the gunman is in. An MG bullet can pass through the walls of houses, so there is nowhere to hide. If the Croatian gunman has a brain like Martin Pauk, he will shoot everything he has. ... Unable to come up with a better alternative, we would opt to shoot desperate people in a cold forest. Probably because it's easier to be a backward idiot with a machine gun than a human being. ”

Novi list (HR) /

Telling fear of others

For Novi list the hysterical debate about refugees is a sign of weakness.

“What does this dramatic fear of others say about the confidence of our right-wingers and nationalists? We can only conclude from their panicked reaction that Croatia is not strong and powerful but rather a weak, unprotected country, if it sees a handful of migrants as a threat. What are Croatians scared about now? Have they so little confidence? It is possible that Croatia is so weak that it can't help those in need? What kind of power is it - didn't Defence Minister Krstičević recently call Croatia a regional power - that can't care for and protect a few dozen people who are in desperate need of protection?”