The latest from the migrant crisis in Croatia.
Since the beginning of the migration crisis on September 16, 106,706 migrants have so far entered Croatia, reported the Ministry of Interior on Sunday. During Saturday, 6,086 migrants entered Croatia across the Bapska and Tovarnik border crossings with Serbia. At midnight, about 1,700 migrants were housed in the temporary reception centre in Opatovac, reports Jurarnji List and Vecernji List on October 4, 2015.
Contrary to some expectations, the border crossing with Hungary at Baranjsko Petrovo Selo has not been closed to refugees. At about 10 am this morning, ten buses arrived from Opatovac, and it is expected that at 4 pm another 10 buses will come to the border. However, sources claim that the processing of refugees on the Hungarian side of the border is visibly slower than in recent days.
Steel doors are open to traffic, and they are connected to around 41 kilometres of wire fence which the Hungarians finished putting up this week. The Hungarian-Croatian border between rivers Drava and Danube is 82 kilometres long, and it has been announced that the whole border will be sealed with fences.
When they came to work this morning, Croatian police officer did not know what will happen during the day and whether their Hungarian colleagues will close the border. “Hungarian police officers also do not know whether and how many refugees they will accept. The decision will be made by the highest government officials”, said Croatian policemen. Their slight optimism was based on the fact that there were several buses on the Hungarian side of the border, waiting to transport the refugees.
If the Hungarians were to close the border at any time, it is expected that Croatia would implement a reserve plan – buses would turn towards Slovenia.
Asked yesterday what will happen if Hungary closes its borders, Croatian interior minister Ranko Ostojić said that Croatia would quickly adapt to new circumstances. “Then the refugees should be transported to Slovenia. Everything has been agreed with Slovenia on the operational level. We have agreed on the routes as well, since the goal is to transport the refugees to their destinations via the shortest possible route”, said Ostojić. He stressed that the key was Germany as the destination of most refugees.
Speaking about refugee routes across Croatia, and the fact that almost no refugees use the Horgoš border crossing between Serbia and Hungary, the minister said that Greece, Hungary and Serbia have made a deal to direct the vast majority of refugees to Croatia. He described a leaflet which is being distributed to refugees in Greece, and which clearly shows the routes of movement from Greece via Macedonia to Croatia, with Hungary marked as a closed country.
“Tonight, 3,296 refugees arrived to Lesbos in Greece, and they will be here within 24 hours. You should also know that in camps in Turkey there are about two million refugees”, said Ostojić. He stressed that Croatia will not allow the opening of the refugee route at its southern borders. “We are doing everything to help these people. None of them has any objections against us and all the services are doing a great job. Croatia has been protected”, concluded Ostojić.