Croatia Fears “Spillover” After Hungary Shuts Border


Croatia is likely to see a large influx of migrants after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia, an official said Tuesday, amid warnings of wartime land mines remaining in the region.

“It is a system of spilling over … if they (migrants) cannot go somewhere, there is a realistic possibility that they will head in our direction,” Zlatko Sokolar, head of the interior ministry’s border administration, told state-run HRT radio.

So far, however, the situation on the 325-kilometre (200-mile) border with Serbia — more than half of which is along the River Danube — is calm, with no recorded attempts to cross the border illegally, he added.

The former Yugoslav republic, now an EU member state, has some 6,000 border police deployed.

Croatia’s border with Serbia lies some 100 kilometres west of the capital Belgrade across flat terrain that is relatively easy to traverse.

But local media warned of the dangers from mines remaining in the region from the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

More than 550 square kilometres (210 square miles) — nearly one percent of Croatia’s territory — is thought to be riddled with mines left over from the conflict.

Speaking to AFP, Mladen Crnkovic of Croatia’s de-mining agency stressed that areas where mines remain are clearly marked with warning signs.

Since the start of the crisis the Croatian authorities have urged solidarity with migrants, recalling its own role in accommodating hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people during the Balkan wars.

The former Yugoslav republic has said it is prepared to take in some 3,000 migrants.