Slovenia’s border with Croatia fully closed to migrants without valid EU visas

Published: Wednesday 9th March 2016 by The News Editor

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Slovenia has fully shut its border with Croatia for migrants without valid EU visas and will no longer accept organised trains carrying refugees.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar said the effective closure of the Western Balkans route for migrants was made after this week’s EU summit which “agreed to stop irregular migration” towards central Europe.

About 478,000 refugees and migrants have passed through Slovenia, mostly in trains, since mid-October when the Balkan migrant route switched from Hungary after it built a razor-wire fence to stop the flow.

Slovenian police said no migrants have entered the county during the last four days. Thousands remain stranded on the Greek side of the border with Macedonia.

Meanwhile, Hungary said it is extending a state of emergency to the whole country in response to the migrant crisis, including additional police and military patrols to stop migrants from entering.

Interior minister Sandor Pinter said the measures are needed because of uncertainty about where the people stranded across the Balkans will try to go after several countries announced only people with valid EU visas will be allowed through.

Hungary declared a state of emergency last year in several counties directly affected by the migrant flow and built fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia which have greatly reduced the number of migrants entering the country in their efforts to reach Germany and other destinations in Western Europe.

Mr Pinter said that a fence on the Romanian border is not necessary for now as Romania has pledged to prevent any migrants from reaching Hungary from there.

An official in Greece said there are early indications that Nato patrols in the eastern Aegean Sea are reducing the number of migrants travelling from Turkey to nearby Greek islands.

Dimitris Vitsas, the deputy defence minister, said expanded Nato patrols that started this week have put pressure on smugglers who have continued to bring migrants and refugees to Greek islands at an average of roughly 2,000 per day.

Mr Vitsas told a state-run radio station: “Yesterday, we had about 700 people. So there is a strong eye on the situation.”

Turkey is currently in negotiations with the European Union for a broad agreement aimed at limiting the number of migrants crossing into Europe.

Turkey and Greece are backing a so-called re-admission agreement that would allow Greece to send back migrants who arrived illegally.

Published: Wednesday 9th March 2016 by The News Editor

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