Croatia wants Greece to stop sending migrants to Europe
Croatia will demand that Greece stop moving migrants from the Middle East on to the rest of Europe, Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said on Monday.
EU interior ministers are to meet on Tuesday in an attempt to find a solution to Europe’s biggest migrant crisis since World War Two, with almost half a million asylum seekers reaching its territory this year.
“The flow of migrants from Greece must be stopped. I will seek that at tomorrow’s meeting of EU interior ministers,” Ostojic told reporters at the Opatovac camp where migrants are being housed near the eastern town of Tovarnik.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to have Greece emptying its refugee camps and sending people towards Croatia via Macedonia and Serbia,” Ostojic added.
Around 29,000 people, mostly from Syria, have arrived in Croatia from Serbia in the past week after trekking northwards through the Balkans from Greece en route to wealthier country in the west and north of the European Union. Croatia is a member of the EU but not part of its Schengen zone of borderless travel.
Greece has been the first point of entry to the EU for many migrants as it borders Turkey, to which millions have fled from wars in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, but says it cannot cope with the influx given its small size and severe financial woes.
An official of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said there were currently around 2,000 people inside the Opatovac camp, a fenced former industrial plant where around 150 olive-coloured, military-style tents have been set up.
“On the average there are around 100 people entering (Croatia) per hour,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said. “Of course, inflow and outflow must be balanced or (the camp) will become overcrowded... This of course depends on the number of people arriving from Serbia,” he said. — Reuters
Germany calls for common policy
Berlin: Germany has called upon its EU partners to agree on a common policy to deal with the influx and on a fair burden-sharing at two meetings this week. The interior ministers of the 28-nation bloc should clear the way for a relocation of the refugees and for the setting up of preliminary registration centres at the external borders of the EU, vice chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel said. PTI
Hungary intercepts 18,700 refugees
Budapest: The Hungarian authorities intercepted 18,757 refugees over the weekend while they were attempting to cross the border illegally, the police reported on Monday. A majority of them entered the country from Croatia and were then taken by Hungarian authorities to near the Austrian border, from where they continued to Austria, reports said.