Croatia says it cannot accept more refugees

Croatia to block its borders to refugees who are seeking to cross into EU as increasing numbers are no longer manageable

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Refugees wait for a train at a station near the border between Serbia and Croatia.

Updated Sep 18, 2015

Croatia’s Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said on Thursday that Croatia will block its borders to refugees who are seeking to cross into European Union (EU), as the increasing numbers of people are no longer manageable.

"Croatia will not be able to receive more people," Ostojic told reporters in Tovarnik.

According to state-run Hina news agency, Croatia's president demanded that the army is prepared to protect borders if necessary.

Following clashes between Hungarian police and refugees at the Serbian border on Wednesday, refugees headed to Croatia to seek asylum.

Over the last two days, more than 7,300 refugees entered Croatia from Serbia.

Meanwhile, EU has called for an emergency summit on Sept. 23 to come up with a solution for the humanitarian crisis and influx of refugees. 

More than 5,000 refugees changed their Balkan route, after Hungary closed its Serbian border.

"We expect a peak within the next two weeks ... over 20,000 migrants," Health Minister Sinisa Varga said, as quoted by the state-run HINA news agency.

The influx of refugees in Croatia began after the country's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said on Wednesday that he would allow refugees to pass through Croatia and continue their journey to Germany.

"Croatia is entirely ready to receive or direct those people where they want to go, which is obviously Germany or Scandinavian countries," Milanovic said during a parliament meeting.

"They will be able to pass through Croatia and we will help, we're getting ready for that possibility," he added.

Refugees who are fleeing from war and poverty are resorting to desperate measures to cross the border into Europe in hopes of a better life. 

"We are tired. We are exhausted. We have been traveling for ten days. We just want to pass to through Croatia and go to Germany," said Salim, a 19-year-old from Syria who was at the Serbian border.

Germany has struggled to accommodate the wave of asylum-seekers from war zones such as Syria, but also from countries without military conflict in southeastern Europe, including Albania, Serbia and Kosovo.

According to police, far right extremists carried out 202 attacks against asylum seekers in first six months on 2015.



TRTWorld and agencies