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New Routes Sought Amid Impasse in Balkans
International

New Routes Sought Amid Impasse in Balkans

Migrants stranded in Croatia have been making renewed efforts to head north despite moves by Slovenia and Hungary to hold them back.

Slovenian police used pepper spray on Friday night to disperse a group trying to cross from Croatia.

Hungary accused Croatia of violating international law after asylum seekers were sent over the border without first being registered, BBC reported.

In a day of chaos and confusion on Friday, people were shunted from one border to another as governments remained split over how to handle the crisis.

Each day now there are new routes and new rules marking the map of Europe; Without a pan–European solution, it is every nation for itself.

Thousands entered Croatia from Serbia earlier this week after Hungary fenced off its Serbian border and sealed shut the previous route north.

Croatia had initially said migrants would be welcome, but on Friday said it was overwhelmed after seeing 17,000 arrivals since Wednesday. It has closed all border crossings with Serbia, except the main road linking Belgrade and Zagreb.

Croatia then began sending people north without registering them, angering Slovenia and Hungary, where a government spokesman accused Croatia of “intentional participation in people smuggling”.

All three are EU states but asylum seekers particularly want to reach Hungary and Slovenia, which are in the borderless Schengen Area, en route to more prosperous northern European countries–with Germany the favorite destination.

Hungarian authorities said a train carrying more than 1,000 migrants and about 40 Croatian police had arrived unannounced–something Hungary said violated international law.

Officials said the officers were being sent back to Croatia and the migrants were being sent by bus to registration centers near the border with Austria–which in turn complained it had not been consulted.

Europe is experiencing a huge influx of asylum seekers–many fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan–but the EU has been strongly criticized for its failure to coordinate a response.

 

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