Climate change is one of the biggest threats to security around the world, Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic said at the Croatian Security Days conference in the Adriatic city of Opatija on Wednesday.
Extreme weather such as wildfires and disastrous floods or tornadoes in Europe are a result of climate change, which in the long run causes geographical changes such as irreversible sea level rise or desertification, Bozinovic said, noting that a significant rise in population migrations was to be expected and that border protection would have to be organised accordingly.
Croatia today protects not only its own but also the EU’s border and it does this job very successfully, lawfully and responsibly and is completely prepared for “possible disruptions on migration routes due to the situation in Afghanistan,” he said.
The Croatian border police conduct numerous activities with the aim of improving the level of technical equipment, training and capacity for normal and quality border monitoring and they deal confidently with the problem of people smuggling, which is connected with illegal migrations, said the minister.
He noted that security threats nowadays could be dealt with only with joint action at the national, international and global levels.
COVID-19 pandemic opened new avenues for misinformation and fake news
Speaking of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bozinovic said that it had been marked by a number of challenges related to public health, provision of basic necessities in conditions of lockdown, and the legality and appropriateness of anti-epidemic measures that restrict human and civic rights and raise questions related to freedom and safety.
A direct consequence of the pandemic are difficulties in cross-border travel and transport of goods. There has been an increase in violence in general, particularly domestic violence, child abuse and drug abuse. “What these phenomena have in common is some form of destabilisation of psyche caused by an unusual epidemic situation,” he said.
The pandemic has also opened new avenues for old security threats such as misinformation, fake news and identity theft, he said.
“Dissemination of fake news has exploded under the pressure of the pandemic. Anyone spreading fake news has become a channel, which to a large extent hampers efforts to find the real source,” he said.
“The spreading of misinformation, fake news and rumours is aimed at undermining citizens’ trust in state institutions and promoting terrorist propaganda with the aim of radicalisation and militarisation, notably of young people,” said Bozinovic.
He pointed to a significant increase in cyber attacks in the last two years, with attacks shifting to a large extent from corporations to small and medium businesses due to large-scale remote work and online meetings on free applications that often have serious security defects.
The central topic of this year’s Croatian Security Days conference is a new outlook on security. The event includes the 15th conference of Croatian security managers, the third forum of Southeast European corporate security managers, and the third private security forum.