Croatian border restrictions remain as Serbian deadline approaches

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

24 PHOTOS
NTP: Migrants in Croatia
See Gallery
Croatian border restrictions remain as Serbian deadline approaches
BAPSKA, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Migrants wait ti board buses towards a refugee transit camp after crossing the Serbian border into Croatia near the village of Bapska on September 23, 2015 in Bapska, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. EU leaders attended an extraordinary summit today in Brussels in an attempt to resolve the ongoing crisis. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
TOVARNIK, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Migrants stand in line as they wait to board a train heading for Zagred at Tovarnik station, as more migrants arrive from the Serbian border, on September 23, 2015 in Tovarnik, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. EU leaders attended an extraordinary summit today in Brussels in an attempt to resolve the ongoing crisis. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
TOVARNIK, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Migrants board a train heading for Zagred at Tovarnik station, as more migrants arrive from the Serbian border, on September 23, 2015 in Tovarnik, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. EU leaders attended an extraordinary summit today in Brussels in an attempt to resolve the ongoing crisis. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
A man tries to help members of his family onto a waiting bus that will take them to Opatovac transit camp not far from the Croatian village of Bapska, on September 23, 2015. About a thousand migrants crossed the border between Serbia and Croatia this morning, and were later transported to a transit camp in Opatovac, about 20 kilometers away. AFP PHOTO/FEDERICO SCOPPA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO SCOPPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A child sleeps on his father's shoulder as a group of migrants and refegees wait to board a bus not far from the Croatian village of Bapska, on September 23, 2015. About a thousand migrants crossed the border between Serbia and Croatia this morning, and were later transported to a transit camp in Opatovac, about 20 kilometers away. AFP PHOTO/FEDERICO SCOPPA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO SCOPPA/AFP/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Children shoes are seen at a refugee camp early in the morning on September 23, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Migant wait outside a refugee camp early in the morning as more arrive from the Serbian border on September 23, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Migants wait outside a refugee camp as more arrive from the Serbian border on September 22, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Migrants walk the last kilometres during the night towards a refugee camp after crossing the Croatian border with Serbia on September 22, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
TOVARNIK, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Migrants stand in line as they wait for boarding a train heading Zagred at Tovarnik station as more migrants arrive from the Serbian border on September 22, 2015 in Tovarnik, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Migrants walk the last kilometres towards a refugee camp after crossing the Croatian border with Serbia on September 22, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
A Syrian girl from a larger group of Middle-Eastern migrants sits on a street as she waits to cross the heavily guarded Croatian - Hungarian border between villages of Baranjsko Petrovo Selo, Croatia and Beremend, Hungary on September 22, 2015. The fence system including chicken wire and barb-wire is in place at the border area to close the official border crossing in village of Beremend thus preventing further influx of Middle-Eastern migrants into Hungary. AFP PHOTO ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
BAPSKA, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Croatian riot police officers control migrants as they board buses towards a refugee transit camp after crossing the Serbian border into Croatia near the village of Bapska on September 23, 2015 in Bapska, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. EU leaders attended an extraordinary summit today in Brussels in an attempt to resolve the ongoing crisis. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Migrants walk through fields trying to avoid being registered in a refugee camp after crossing the Croatian border with Serbia on September 22, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Migrants walk the last kilometres during the night towards a refugee camp after crossing the Croatian border with Serbia on September 22, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Migrants wait outside a refugee camp as more arrive from the Serbian border on September 22, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
OPATOVAC, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Migrants walks the last kilometres towards a refugee camp after crossing the Croatian border with Serbia on September 22, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia. Croatia has built a refugee camp to control the transit of migrants to Hungary with a capacity of 4,000 people. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria over the weekend with more en-route from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. Politicians across the European Union are to hold meetings on the refugee crisis with EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and EU leaders attending an extraordinary summit on Wednesday. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
A man holds a sign reading "Let's be Humans" as he waits along with other migrants and refugees to be boarded onto buses, close to Croatia's border with Serbia, in the town of Babska, Croatia, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. European Union leaders will pledge to strengthen controls at the EU's borders with the outside world to help tackle the refugee crisis, according to a draft statement seen Wednesday by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
A man feeds a crying baby as he waits along with other migrants and refugees to be boarded into buses, close to Croatia's border with Serbia, in the town of Babska, Croatia, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. European Union leaders will pledge to strengthen controls at the EU's borders with the outside world to help tackle the refugee crisis, according to a draft statement seen Wednesday by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
People queue in order to get into a reception center for migrants and refugees in Opatovac, Croatia, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Deeply divided European Union ministers agreed Tuesday to relocate 120,000 asylum-seekers to ease the strain on Greece and Italy, which are on the front line of the migrant flood. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
A woman holds her son as they wait in line in order to get into a reception center for migrants and refugees in Opatovac, Croatia, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Deeply divided European Union ministers agreed Tuesday to relocate 120,000 asylum-seekers to ease the strain on Greece and Italy, which are on the front line of the migrant flood. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
A man stands by the window of a train he boarded with other migrants, in Tovarnik, Croatia, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. European Union ministers agreed Tuesday to relocate 120,000 migrants in a move intended to ease the strain on nations Greece and Italy which are on the frontline of the continentâs overwhelming migrant crisis. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Croatian police officers support an injured man in front of a reception center in Opatovac, Croatia, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. Scuffles have broken out between Croatian police and asylum-seekers after they were barred from entering a newly opened reception center meant to register those seeking sanctuary in Europe. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


Croatia said on Wednesday it would lift border restrictions with Serbia only once Belgrade begins sending migrants to Hungary, standing firm against a midnight deadline when Serbia says it will retaliate.

Zagreb has banned all trucks but those carrying perishable goods from entering from fellow ex-Yugoslav republic Serbia and has shut seven of eight road border crossings, angry that its neighbor is sending tens of thousands of migrants across their joint border rather than to neighboring Hungary or Romania.

The dispute is fast becoming their most serious in the two decades since Croatia fought Belgrade-backed Serb rebels in a 1991-95 war to forge its independence from socialist Yugoslavia.

Serbia has set a midnight deadline for Croatia, a member of the European Union since 2013, to lift the blockade or face "political, legal and economic measures" in retaliation. It has not specified what the measures might contain.

Speaking in Brussels, where he was attending a summit of European Union leaders on the migration crisis, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told reporters:

"Until I see the Budapest-Belgrade axis stop burdening Croatia with refugees, I will remain convinced that they are doing something behind our back. I will remain so convinced until Serbia starts sending people to Hungary too, and not just to Croatia."

Croatian state radio had earlier reported that cars and trucks were flowing freely across the border after a group of truck drivers called off a protest, but it emerged cargo traffic was moving only in one direction.

More than 30,000 migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, have entered Croatia from Serbia since Tuesday last week, when Hungary barred their entry to the EU by sealing its southern border with Serbia with a metal fence.

They are being bussed by Serbia directly to the Croatian border, having entered Serbia from Macedonia, and trekking through fields beyond the official border crossings.

Croatia says it cannot cope with the numbers, saying Serbia should send them to Hungary through their main official border point at Horgos, and to Romania too.

Croatia is sending migrants north across its own border with Hungary, which in turn sends them to Austria, but is struggling to keep pace with the influx.

"We are still waiting for a single bus to go through Horgos," Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told Reuters, when asked when the blockade might be lifted in full.

(Additional reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic in Zagreb and Matt Robinson and Ivana Sekularac in Belgrade; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Record Refugee Numbers Enter Croatia as Row with Serbia Deepens

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners