Austria, Slovenia Slowing Refugee Transit: Bottlenecks in Croatia, Serbia

Total Croatia News

The latest from the migrant crisis. Bottlenecks are appearing on the Slovenian and Serbian borders.

Austria announced yesterday that it can no longer accept refugees coming from Slovenia due to problems with accommodation capacities. Slovenia then put up a high chain-link fence at some border crossings with Croatia and decided it will not accept refugees who were brought there by train. However, Slovenian media report this morning that Austria had again begun to accept refugees, reports and Vecernji List on October 19, 2015.

Shortly after midnight, a refugee train came from Tovarnik to Čakovec with about 1,800 migrants. Although there was no agreement between the Croatian police and their Slovenian colleagues, the train continued towards Slovenia and stopped at Trnovec, 200 metres from the border. On the Slovenian side of the border, refugees who left the train were welcomed by Slovenian riot police with dogs and a wire fence.

Some of the refugees were trying to find a hole in the fence where they could enter Slovenia, while others were trying to cross a local creek. “It’s not your land, get back”, could be heard around 2:30 am from a Slovenian police megaphone on the border. Croatian police told the refugees they could temporarily stay in Croatia or continue along the path on foot to Slovenia, at their own risk. All the refugees decided they wanted to continue.

More than a thousand refugees spent the night on the Croatian side of the border in Trnovec. Several hundred refugees managed to enter Slovenia. Croatian police allowed about 300 people to come to the border and they entered Slovenia at the Banfi border crossing. There was no significant police presence there, so refugees had no problems to cross the border.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner informed on Sunday her Slovenian colleague Vesna Gjerkeš Žnidar that Austria could no longer accept refugees and that it was unacceptable for Croatia to send new refugees to Slovenia, announced late last night Slovenian Ministry of the Interior.

Earlier in the day, Slovenian Ministry of the Interior said that it could not accept Croatian demands to receive as many as 5,000 migrants a day. Slovenian minister talked with her Croatian counterpart and asked for the Croatian side to cooperate and respect the number of refugees that Slovenia can receive. However, despite the warning, Croatian authorities officially informed Slovenia that on Monday about 1,800 migrants will be sent to Slovenia. “We point out that the Slovenian police has not accepted that”, the Slovenian Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

Situation is worsening at the Croatian-Serbian border as well, where about 2,000 people spent the night in Berkasovo on the Serbian side, waiting to enter Croatia.

According to the latest official information from Croatian Interior Ministry, from midnight to 9 pm on Sunday, 4,218 migrants entered Croatia. Currently, there are 4,351 migrants accommodated at the Opatovac reception centre. It is expected that the influx of migrants from Serbia will continue. Since the beginning of the migration crisis in the region, 197,000 migrants have entered Croatia.


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