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The Balkans overwhelmed by the influx of migrants

Lundi 19 octobre 2015. Poste frontière entre la Croatie et la Slovénie.

Monday, October 19, 2015. Border crossing between Croatia and Slovenia Photo credits: Darko Bandic / AP

GRAPHICS – The atmosphere was tense. Monday, the Balkans, where thousands of migrants are stranded due to bottlenecks at borders.

After closing Friday by Hungary of its border with Croatia, road migrants wishing to travel to Austria and Germany, has been diverted to Slovenia. This country of two million inhabitants imposed a maximum quota of 2,500 entries per day on its territory. A limitation which forced Croatia to limit entries from Serbia, causing tensions on its border. The situation is unlikely to improve. This weekend, more than 15,000 migrants, including many refugees fleeing the conflict in the Middle East, came into Macedonia. They are en route to Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia and further to Western Europe.

• Croatia ultimately lets thousands of migrants

Beraskovo, lundi, à la frontière entre la Serbie et la Croatie.

Beraskovo Monday at the border between Serbia and Croatia. Photo credits: MARKO Djurica / Reuters

This late Monday afternoon, Croatia finally let enter its territory about 3,000 migrants who were waiting in the pouring rain, sitting in the mud, in the locality of Berkasovo at its border with Serbia. “The Croatian police opened the door and all the refugees who were in front of the border crossing came” in Croatia, said Jan Pinos, a Czech volunteer on site.

Croatia has limited inputs from Serbia in causing tensions on the border. Monday morning, several thousand migrants were stranded there. The Croatian police, overwhelmed, had erected a makeshift fence to control the border of access. “Open the door, open the door!” Shouted migrants numbed by the cold and fatigue.

• Slovenia limit inputs

These refugees that Croatia finally let go, should join hundreds of others waiting to go to Slovenia since yesterday. Slovenia stated that it limited the entry of its territory to 2,500 migrants a day, less than half what asks his Croatian neighbor.

The Slovenian Ministry of the Interior, however, estimated that “more than 6,000″ new migrants arrived on Monday on its soil, accuses Croatia of ignoring its efforts to slow the number of arrivals. Slovenia says not wanting to welcome more migrants on its territory as the number of those who can leave to enter Austria. An assertion denied by Vienna.

Hungary welcomes to have locked its borders

For its part, the Hungarian government welcomed on Monday, had “stopped” the transit of migrants through its territory by closing its borders with Serbia and Croatia. “The border closure works, this has effectively stopped illegal entries,” said the spokesman of the Hungarian government, Zoltan Kovacs, during a press briefing. He said only 41 migrants had entered “illegally” Sunday in Hungary.

This is the lowest number of daily entries in the country since the beginning of the year, according to official figures. Hungary was, for several months, a major transit country for migrants and refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, crossing the Balkans from Greece. Since this summer, the country has seen pass up to 10,000 people a day and has identified a total of over 390,000 migrant inflows from 1 January.

50 Czech police to help their Hungarian colleagues

The Czech government approved on Monday, sending 50 police officers in Hungary to help the country to monitor the external border of the Schengen area , announced the Ministry of Interior. “The police will leave for Hungary before the end of this month, to stay there until December 15, 2015,” the ministry said in a statement. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, had already given the green light to send 25 soldiers in Hungary. “To solve the migration crisis effectively, we must move from words to deeds”, said Czech Interior Minister, Milan Chovanec. According to him, the establishment of joint patrols is a “good example of solidarity and effective cooperation.”

Slovakia had also announced last week that it would soon send 50 police officers Hungary to help monitor its border with Serbia.

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