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Reopen borders for cargo or face countermeasures: Serbia tells Croatia

Croatia shut all but one of its crossings with Serbia last week to block the migrant surge, which has reached 44,000 in a week.

By: AP | Brussels | September 23, 2015 7:24:16 pm
Croatia migrants, Europe migrant crisis, Serbia, Refugee crisis, Europe Refugee crisis People walk past corn fields as they move towards Serbia’s border with Croatia close to the town of Sid, Serbia, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. Croatia has begun transporting migrants across the border to Hungary after the Croatian prime minister said his nation has been overwhelmed by 14,000 migrants in the last two days. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

Serbia has given Croatia an ultimatum to reopen its border for all cargo transport by midnight, or face unspecified countermeasures.

Croatia shut all but one of its crossings with Serbia last week to block the migrant surge, which has reached 44,000 in a week. Croatia is angry that Serbia is busing migrants to its border, rather than sending them north to Hungary.

Croatia’s action has crippled the economy in Serbia, a conduit for cargo across Croatia to western and central Europe.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic sent a protest letter to EU officials on Wednesday, saying “with aggressive and unacceptable measures, Croatia has drastically struck our national and vital economic interests as well as strongly undermining regional relations and stability.”

Croatia started letting trucks carrying food from Serbia across the border on Tuesday afternoon, but Serbian officials want all cargo traffic must be restored.

On the issue of distribution of refugees, Poland says it will accept some 7,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea from 2016-2017. The Interior Ministry says Poland is to take in some 5,000 people within the EU plan of relocation of asylum-seekers that was agreed on Tuesday. In addition, Poland will accommodate some 2,000 refugees that Warsaw committed to in July.

They will be gradually received in groups of 150 people in 2016 and 2017. Most will come from Italy and Greece, but some 900 will come from refugee camps in the Middle East.

Hungary’s prime minister says he wants the whole world to share the burden of housing refugees and migrants.

Viktor Orban has strongly opposed quotas for migrants within the European Union, but he said Wednesday that worldwide quotas would be among six proposals he will present to fellow EU leaders meeting in Brussels.

Orban said that “we should involve the whole world in the handling of this refugee crisis, migrant crisis, or as we Hungarians call it — people’s migration.”

Orban also repeated a suggestion for EU countries to help Greece protect its borders to prevent migrants flowing into the continent, saying member states could volunteer troops for such a mission.

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