Numerous refugees and migrants are Syrians and Iraqis fleeing war in their homelands.
Hundreds of migrants crossed into Hungary from Croatia on Friday, handed over by bus under the watch of Hungarian security forces sworn to keep them out – a snapshot of the confusion and contradiction of a divided Europe.
“Up to this moment, about 400 people have arrived at the Croatian border and they were accepted and registered by our police“, local search and rescue chief Zdravko Colic said.
Only the Bajakovo crossing between Croatia and Serbia remains, which is on the Belgrade-Zagreb highway and needed for traffic.
He also said Slovenia would receive asylum requests, but not create a “corridor” for migrants to simply pass through the country into Austria.
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic met Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, who was also due to meet his Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar in Ljubljana.
The Croatian Red Cross said it expects similar numbers to arrive over the next few days, state TV HRT reported, after buses drop them off near the border on the Serbian side.
The new measures would cut benefits to new arrivals, expedite deportations and punish false asylum claims.
But many refugees wish to continue on to Germany and Austria, and do not wish to seek asylum in smaller, less well-off European Union nations such as Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. “We will do our best, but I can not guarantee that we will be able to do so”.
Hungary sealed off its southern border with Serbia on Wednesday, forcing thousands of desperate people to turn to neighboring Croatia in order to attempt to make their way to northern Europe and their preferred destination: Germany.
However, despite the border closures, many continued entering Croatia through cornfields.
Hundreds of migrants waiting a train station in Croatia have marched down the tracks in protest. But by Thursday, his government had discovered that this crisis is beyond what any single country can deal with on an unplanned, unilateral basis – even with the best of intentions.
Given the developments, there seemed to be little hope in sight for thousands of people stranded on the doorstep to Western Europe.
“Our concern is that it’s an additional distance which means additional suffering for people who are determined to go”.
He said Europeans have nothing to fear from people like himself. “We were the victims and oppressed back home in our societies”.