The latest from the Slovenian and Serbian borders on the migrant crisis.
The police in Slovenian town of Novo Mesto announced this morning that a new group of refugees was crossing the border between Croatia and Slovenia. They arrived at 5 am in a train with a total of 1,339 refugees and migrants. Slovenian media on Friday night reported that the Slovenian police was informed by their Croatian counterparts about the arrival of trains at the border during the night at four hour long intervals. During the first week of migrant crisis in Slovenia, about 40,000 migrants and refugees entered the country, but most of them already went to Austria and Germany. Slovenia is accusing Croatian authorities that they are not informing it about refugees who are being brought to Slovenian border, reports Index.hr and Vecernji List on October 24, 2015.
Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerer’s office confirmed on Friday that the government had decided to establish a national crisis centre to monitor the refugee wave. During a visit to the reception centre in Brežice, Cerar again warned that the influx of refugees from neighbouring Croatia was too large for Slovenia. Therefore, the Slovenian government does not exclude the possibility of setting up a physical barrier on the 670 kilometre-long border with Croatia, if a common European solution is not found.
Croatian Interior Ministry reported that from midnight to 9 pm on Friday, 6,881 migrants and refugees entered Croatia and that at the Opatovac temporary reception centre there are currently 681 people. Since the beginning of the migration crisis, 229,890 refugees and migrants have entered Croatia.
Interior ministers of Croatia and Serbia Ranko Ostojić and Nebojša Stefanović met on Friday at the Bajakovo border crossing and have agreed that Serbian police will increase its numbers at the border with Croatia. The two ministers have also agreed that, as soon as the winter transit centre in Slavonski Brod in Croatia in constructed, refugees and migrants will come directly by train from Šid in Serbia to Slavonski Brod.
Leaders of the countries along the migrant route will meet on Sunday in Brussels to discuss the refugee crisis. According to the draft declaration, states on the Balkan route will not be allowed to transport refugees to other countries without consultations with their neighbours. “This policy is unacceptable”, states a draft of a secret document which was published by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. That could mean that Croatia will have to stop the policy of forwarding refugees and migrants from the border with Serbia to Slovenia. However, such a decision would also prohibit Serbia to send all the migrants to Croatia, and would also prohibit Greece, the first EU country to which refugees and migrants arrive from Turkey, to send refugees to Macedonia and Serbia.
“We expect that the meeting on Sunday will be an operational meeting and will change the situation on the ground as early as Monday morning”, spokesperson for the European Commission Margaritis Schinas said. EU sources familiar with the preparations for tomorrow’s meeting expressed their agreement with the Slovenian statements that Croatia should better register refugees and cooperate with Slovenia, and that the current situation at the Slovenian-Croatian border is “out of control”. But, instead of accusations, everyone should start doing their part of the job, said another source familiar with the political and diplomatic attitude with which Germany is coming to tomorrow’s meeting.
Croatian government sources say that the meeting in Brussels is informal, but welcome it if it contributes to solving the refugee crisis. However, Croatia will not accept any new obligations or conclusions that go beyond the scope of previous decisions of the European Council on refugees, the Croatian government says.