Record migrant arrivals in Croatia| MENAFN.COM

Monday, 08 August 2022 04:54 GMT

Record migrant arrivals in Croatia

(MENAFN- The Peninsula)Migrants who crossed the Croatian-Hungarian border wait to board a train at the railway station in Zakany 230km southwest of Budapest Hungary.

Zagreb: Croatia yesterday announced an unprecedented spike in the arrival of migrants on a long dangerous journey towards western Europe as the continent’s worst post-World War II refugee crisis showed no sign of abating.

With many of the people fleeing war and misery flocking towards Germany a new poll showed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity at home has been hit by her policy of openness.

Merkel’s “strong commitment to the refugees has obviously not been met with much backing” the Der Spiegel weekly newspaper said on the poll published yesterday on its pages.

Germany is expecting up to a million refugees and migrants to enter its borders this year many encouraged by Merkel’s welcoming stance.

Some 500000 people have come to Europe so far this year the International Organization for Migration says many of them taking perilous journeys on inflatable dinghies to Greece from Turkey and then up towards western Europe through the Balkans and Hungary.

EU member Croatia became a key transit country when Hungary sealed its border with Serbia earlier this month in a bid to keep the migrants out.

In the past 10 days alone 65000 refugees and migrants have arrived in the Balkan country the interior ministry said yesterday.

Most were given temporary shelter in a recently-built refugee reception centre in the village of Opatovac near the Serbian border. They were then taken on buses and trains to three border crossings with Hungary.

“The key is that everything goes smoothly on Hungary’s side. (Hungary) is still receiving (the migrants) and transporting” them on towards the Austrian border Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told reporters.

“The situation is under control” he added.

However with hardline Hungary planning to seal the border with Croatia too there is speculation that people might carve out a new so-called southern route through Montenegro.

Ostojic said preparations were underway in southern Croatia in case the need to give them shelter arises there.

Croatia may temporarily house them in military facilities remaining from the former Yugoslav People’s Army in the Prevlaka peninsula which is located at southern tip of Croatia’s long coastline on the Adriatic Sea 45 kilometres southeast of Dubrovnik bordering Montenegro. Some regional officials have warned however that Croatia must prevent any influx of migrants near the resort of Dubrovnik as it might affect tourism.

Merkel with her popularity down over her handling of the crisis yesterday sought to bring back the spirit of the country’s reunification in 1990 to help face today’s challenge of integrating the refugees.

While admitting that handling the current wave of migration and facing the task of reunification are two very different things Merkel said integrating people will require a similarly important effort from the whole of German society.

“That general feeling — when we are faced with a major task that we can achieve — that I believe we can absolutely remember how to do” Merkel said in her weekly podcast.

Their memory of the reunification process of east and west Germany is what has encouraged “many many people to get involved today... Their approach to their task is with the idea that ‘we want to succeed and we can succeed.’” AFP

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