Austria Possibly to Stop Accepting Migrants, UNHCR Sends Aid to Croatia

Total Croatia News

The latest on the migrant crisis, as Austrian and Slovenian decisions stem the flow.

The Slovenian police are making great efforts to come to an agreement with Austria about the transit of refugees from Slovenia, but it is likely that Austria will soon stop receiving migrants, Slovenian interior minister Vesna Žnidar said yesterday. “Austria is having difficulty providing accommodation facilities. My assessment is that Austria will soon stop receiving migrants and refugees”, said Žnidar during her visit to the Dobovec border crossing. She added that on Thursday she will talk about the refugee crisis with European commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos. The current situation is very difficult, but it is still under control, reports and Vecernji List on October 22, 2015.

Slovenia has asked several countries of the Schengen Area to assist its police in protection of the border with Croatia, added the minister. She reiterated her earlier assessment that Croatia “does not respect the agreements” and is not coordinating with the Slovenian police. On the other hand, Slovenia is carrying out all the necessary procedures with the migrants that it is required to perform as a member of the Schengen area, said Žnidar. She warned that Slovenia, which is the smallest country on the migrant route, cannot afford to accommodate large numbers of people for a long time.

Slovenian police estimates that since Saturday nearly 25,000 migrants have entered Slovenia from Croatia, but that Austria accepted only about 10,000 of them. Austrian and Slovenian police leaders are discussing the possibilities for the registration procedures to be speeded up.

Transport aircraft A300 from Dubai, bringing 37 tons of humanitarian aid for the refugees from the Middle East and Central Asia, landed on Wednesday at 10 pm at the Osijek airport in Croatia. It was a special flight organized by UNHCR, with tents, raincoats, thermal blankets, heaters and solar lamps. UNHCR spokesperson Jan Kapić told reporters at the airport that the humanitarian aid will be distributed to refugees at the reception centre in Opatovac and along the entire refugee route.

This is just part of the humanitarian aid which has been sent by UNHCR. Refugees have already received more than 80,000 blankets, 50,000 litres of water and 30,000 raincoats. Kapić added that housing units will start to arrive soon, and they will be located at the new reception centre in Slavonski Brod, making the centre more suitable for refugees during the winter months.

Refugees are continuing to cross the border between Serbia and Croatia. From midnight to 9 pm on Wednesday, 6,113 migrants entered Croatia. Currently there are about 3,500 migrants at the Opatovac temporary reception centre. Since the beginning of the migration crisis, 214,474 migrants and refugees have entered Croatia.

“The European Union and Germany are actively working on an agreement with Turkey to provide it with financial and organizational aid so that between 1.5 and 2 million refugees could be accommodated within its borders. We should also mention Lebanon and Jordan, which are much smaller and poorer countries than Turkey, which are already coping with between 700,000 and 1,200,000 refugees”, Croatian foreign minister Vesna Pusić said yesterday. Asked if the refugees would stay in Slavonski Brod for longer than 48 hours, if the borders were to be closed, the minister responded that it should not happen. But, if Germany were to close its borders, there would be a domino effect. Everything depends on how long will Germany be able to accept refugees.

Croatian defence minister Ante Kotromanović said that Croatia will not send its army to the border, despite the Slovenian decision to do so. “That is a Slovenian decision, for the time being we do not have to do that. We have enough police forces which can maintain law and order in the country and at the borders. We have been controlling the crisis from the very beginning, despite the increased flow of refugees. I call on those who spread hysteria to calm down”, Kotromanović said. “So far, the refugees have not made any problems”, he added.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has called a meeting for Sunday of the countries along the Balkan migrant route. The meeting was initiated by Germany and Austria and will include the heads of state or government of the countries affected by the influx of migrants.


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