The latest on the migrant and Serbian border situation.
Currently, the biggest influx of refugees to Croatia is in Strošinci, a village near Županja in Eastern Croatia. There are currently a few thousand people in the village who will soon be transported to Spačva, and from there by train to Hungary. At the same time, the influx of refugees in the Bapska and Tovarnik area has been significantly reduced, which can be seen in the Opatovac reception camp where there are now less than 500 people, reports Vecernji List on September 26, 2015.
“By 9 am today, 66,500 refugees have entered Croatia. The refugees spend up to six hours in the Opatovac camp, before being transported to Hungary. Hungary is still accepting refugees so everything is fine”, said Croatian interior minister Ranko Ostojić. The 25th refugee train left Tovarnik at 11.56 am this morning, and it will take the refugees to Botovo on the Hungarian border.
Asked about the possibility of the new refugee route being opened through southern Croatia near Dubrovnik, Ostojić said that the former military facilities are being prepared for the possible arrival of refugees. “There is still no one there, but as a responsible country we must be prepared for it. We have started the preparations five days ago. If the southern route is activated, I believe that the cooperation with Montenegro will be much better”, said Ostojić. Asked whether the refugees are still crossing over the Horgoš border crossing between Serbia and Hungary, the minister said it was just a show for the media. “At the Horgoš border crossing, yesterday about 300 people crossed the border, and afterwards just another 30. We hope that the border crossing will be activated. At least some of the refugees should be sent there”, said Ostojić.
Serbian daily Danas, citing diplomatic sources, claims that Aleksandar Vulin, a minister in the Serbian government, has been tasked with redirecting a part of the refugees towards the border with Hungary.
After the Croatian and Serbian governments decided yesterday to abolish border restrictions, the traffic at the Bajakovo border crossing between Croatia and Serbia has been normalized. The Tovarnik border crossing is also open to all traffic without any restrictions. Border crossings with Serbia Ilok, Ilok 2, Principovac, Principovac 2, Erdut and Batina are closed.
Croatian prime minister Zoran Milanović, speaking yesterday evening for the Serbian Radio-Television, said that he wanted to have normal relations with Serbia, but also noted that it was possible for the blockade of border to be reintroduced. He denied he ever said that the Serbs were barbarians. “Serbia has to function as a state. When people enter Serbia, they should be organized and transported to the north. I have offered to prime minister Vučić to send our buses and transport these unfortunate people to the Croatian and Hungarian border. Who could refuse such a nice offer?”
Serbian prime minister Aleksandar Vučić gave an interview yesterday to the Croatian Radio-Television. “The latest decision by the Croatian government is good. I do not want to comment on the reasons why there has been the blockade, but we know that the election campaign has started in Croatia. It is not true that we are sending the refugees toward Horgoš. People come to Belgrade and choose their own route. We have received more refugees than Hungary and Croatia together. There are no hidden plans here. That is nonsense.”