Refugee crisis: Croatia PM warns Europe 'we cannot accommodate these people any longer'

Zoran Milanovic says his country 'will not become a migrant hotspot'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Croatia’s Prime Minister has warned that his country will no longer bear the “burden” of Europe’s refugee crisis, becoming the latest nation to say it is overwhelmed by the thousands of people crossing its borders.

At least 19 buses containing refugees and migrants were driven across Croatia’s border with Hungary and taken to the village of Beremend for authorities there to deal with. The shunting of refugees from one nation to another is a consequence of several southern European nations refusing to handle the influx of people as tens of thousands try and make their way to the safety of Western Europe.

“We cannot register and accommodate these people any longer,” Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said. “They will get food, water and medical help, and then they can move on. The European Union must know that Croatia will not become a migrant ‘hotspot’.”

Hungary closed its border with Serbia earlier this week, leaving Croatia as one of the few overland routes to Austria and Germany, the desired destinations for many. However, Croatia closed all but one of its border crossings with Serbia after more than 14,000 refugees and migrants entered the country in the last two days. Mr Milanovic said of the move, “We have a heart but we also have a brain.”

 

Croatia-refugees.jpg
Several men, women and children fell ill and collapsed after being held by police in extreme heat in Tovarnik

 

The Hungarian government decried the bussing of people across its borders, but appeared to accept them by moving them to be registered.

For those in the Croatian village of Tovarnik, near the border with Serbia, the wait for trains dragged on, as the sun beat down.

Ahmad, 23, an English literature student from Damascus waited under the shade of a tree. Ahmad dreams of coming to the UK, but is not optimistic. “I would really like to study politics and diplomacy,” he says, “but I will just go to Holland instead, I hope.”

 

He said some of his friends had left for Slovenia to continue their journeys. “But now they don’t answer their phones and we’re kind of worried about them, he said.”

Outside, Mohamed Shahoud, 18, from Homs, waits with his 12-year-old sister Rame. “Our parents are in a refugee camp in Turkey,” he says. “I hope I can go to find a normal life in Europe and be reunited with them later. Homs is horrible; we can’t really do anything there. When we go to buy groceries, we dodge the snipers.”

Comments